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Nearly half of US states now have measures on transgender surgery for minors, but lawsuits abound

Laws banning transgender procedures for minors have been blocked by federal courts in at least five states.

Published: June 18, 2023 12:16am

At least 20 states have either restricted or banned transgender procedures for minors, with many of them facing lawsuits and temporary blocks by courts as a result, while future litigation is possible in states considering adopting such laws. 

The states that have enacted legislation against such procedures are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia – essentially all conservative-leaning.

Such changes come amid opposition to transgender procedures and minors regretting have had them.

In a McLaughlin and Associates/Summit Ministries poll from October 2022, 65% of likely general election voters said that the transgender movement has "gone too far by encouraging underage minors to use drugs and surgery to transition to the opposite sex," compared to 21% who disagreed. 

Meanwhile, Louisiana may become the 21st state to ban or restrict such procedures.

Both chambers of the state legislature have passed the bill, most recently the Senate, which has sent the measure back to the House to approve some amendments. The bill could soon reach the desk of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has opposed it but has not said whether he would veto the bill. If Edwards vetoes the bill, the legislature could try to override it. 

Wyoming has introduced two bills related to restricting transgender procedures for minors, but they both failed to get introduced in the state House after being passed by the Senate. 

Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin are also considering similar bills

Prior to this year, only three states had enacted such laws. 

The laws passed by the states vary in restrictions, penalties and timelines. For instance, in Indiana, Iowa, and Mississippi, the laws ban physicians or practitioners from knowingly aiding and abetting minors to receive transgender procedures. 

Indiana’s law notes that any physician or practitioner who violates the law will be “subject to discipline by the board regulating the physician or practitioner.”

Several of the states that have passed laws restricting or banning such procedures on minors are facing lawsuits.

The Justice Department has sued Alabama and Tennessee, alleging their new laws are in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is involved in lawsuits in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Texas regarding laws restricting or banning transgender procedures on minors. 

In the lawsuit announcement against Texas’ law in May, the ACLU released a statement, saying, “We will defend the rights of transgender youth in court, just as we have done in other states engaging in this anti-science and discriminatory fear-mongering.” 

In addition, the bans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida,and Oklahoma have all been temporarily blocked by federal courts, with Indiana joining them on Friday

Regarding the ACLU lawsuit against Montana’s law, state Attorney General Austin Knudse said the state "obviously has an interest in protecting young, non-able-to-consent minors from this kind of barbaric surgery.” 

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