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Higher court strikes injunction on gender-affirming care, reinstating health care ban


Higher court strikes injunction on gender-affirming care, reinstating health care ban

Feb 27, 2024 | 6:55 pm ET
By Whitney Downard
Higher court strikes injunction on gender-affirming care, reinstating health care ban
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an injunction, reinstating a ban on gender-affirming care for Hoosier minors. (Getty Images)

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday struck down an injunction that allowed transgender Hoosier children to access gender-affirming health care while federal court proceedings continued.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the law banning such care after Republican lawmakers passed it in 2023. It now immediately takes effect.

The underlying case is ongoing as parties argue about expert testimony and document deadlines; a bench trial is tentatively set for Spring 2025.

In June, U.S. District Court Judge James Patrick Hanlon upheld a legislative ban on surgical procedures but halted state prohibitions on hormone therapies and puberty blockers in a preliminary injunction for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Judge issues partial injunction on transgender health care ban

Tuesday’s ruling is an appeal of the district court’s preliminary injunction. The Seventh Circuit out of Chicago — covering Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin — reviewed submissions in the case and heard oral arguments on Feb. 16.

Plaintiffs can appeal Tuesday’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, whose office is defending the ban in court, celebrated the ruling on X, formerly Twitter.

“Our commonsense state law, banning dangerous and irreversible gender-transition procedures for minors, is now enforceable following the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s newest order. We are proud to win this fight against the radicals who continue pushing this horrific practice on our children for ideological and financial reasons,” Rokita wrote.

Doctors can be disciplined for providing such care and those cases are brought by the Attorney General’s Office.

Hanlon, in his June ruling, said the plaintiffs demonstrated “some likelihood of success” in their arguments that the ban violated equal protection rights, specifically because the prohibition allows the treatments to continue so long as children don’t have a gender dysphoria diagnosis.

States and courts have been split on how to approach gender-affirming care. In his ruling, Hanlon emphasized that each side agreed about the need for more research on the long-term effects of gender-affirming care.

In January, he also granted class action certification in the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU) — which represented the four transgender youths and their parents who filed the legal challenge — lamented the ruling Tuesday evening but vowed to continue challenging the ban.

“This ruling is beyond disappointing and a heartbreaking development for thousands of transgender youth, their doctors, and their families. As we and our clients consider our next steps, we want all the transgender youth of Indiana to know this fight is far from over and we will continue to challenge this law until it is permanently defeated and Indiana is made a safer place to raise every family,” the organization said in a statement.