Authored by Caden Pearson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Georgia's ban on puberty blockers and hormone therapy for minors with gender dysphoria can be reinstated, citing a recent federal appeals court decision that upheld a similar Alabama law.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Geraghty, an appointee of President Joe Biden, had on Aug. 20 issued a preliminary injunction (pdf) temporarily halting Georgia's ban, which was scheduled to take effect on July 1.
She ruled that without an injunction, the plaintiffs, who are a group of parents with anonymous middle-school-aged transgender children, would experience "irreparable harm." The judge stated that puberty blockers and hormone treatments had "been recommended by their health care providers in light of their individual diagnoses and mental health needs.”
However, on the same day the injunction was ordered, the 11th Circuit of Appeals ruled that a similar ban in Alabama could proceed. The 11th Circuit hears appeals from Georgia as well.
After the appeals court ruling, Alabama Attorney General Chris Carr urged Judge Geraghty to vacate her injunction.
On Tuesday, Judge Geraghty put the injunction on hold pending a final decision in that case, saying it "rests on legal grounds that have been squarely rejected by the panel" in the Alabama case, but that further appeals in that matter were underway.
Georgia's ban encompasses two primary provisions: firstly, it bars minors from obtaining hormone replacement therapies and sex reassignment surgeries to address their gender dysphoria from licensed health care facilities. Secondly, it stipulates that medical providers who contravene this law risk losing their licenses.
However, the initial complaint solely focused on hormone therapy and did not encompass any concerns related to surgery.
The plaintiffs brought the lawsuit against the state in June. They contend that the ban infringes upon parents' rights to make medical choices concerning the health and welfare of their children. It further alleges that the ban obstructs parents from obtaining suitable medical care for their children who are grappling with gender dysphoria.
A spokesperson for Mr. Carr welcomed Judge Geraghty's Tuesday ruling.
"We are pleased with the court's decision and will continue fighting to protect the health and well-being of Georgia's children," said Kara Richardson in a statement.
In March, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, approved a state law that prohibits specific medical procedures and treatments for minors who suffer from gender dysphoria, which refers to the emotional distress experienced by some individuals who don't feel their biological sex matches their "gender identity."
That law notes there's been a "massive unexplained rise in diagnoses of gender dysphoria among children over the past 10 years, with most of those experiencing this phenomenon being girls."
The Georgia law bars minors from undergoing transgender surgeries, although this aspect of the law was not under consideration in the case presided over by Judge Geraghty.
Approximately six federal courts have issued injunctions against restrictions on what is commonly referred to as "gender-affirming care" for minors. Advocates assert that such care is deemed "medically necessary" as it can significantly reduce the risk of individuals experiencing gender dysphoria resorting to suicide.
Opponents challenge the idea that transgender procedures definitively reduce suicide rates. A March research review, which focused solely on suicide likelihood, found inconclusive results.
This uncertainty is due to a lack of control for the time elapsed after transgender procedures. Researchers suggest that individuals may experience an initial improvement in mental health, but over time, this effect could diminish, potentially leading to a return of pre-procedure levels of suicidal ideation.
"There may be implications for the informed-consent process of gender-affirming treatment given the current lack of methodological robustness of the literature reviewed," the study authors wrote.