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Federal Appeals Court Allows Indiana's Gender-Affirming Care Ban

Protesters stand outside of the Senate chamber at the Indiana Statehouse, Feb. 22, 2023, in Indianapolis. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, a federal appeals court in Chicago stayed an injunction from

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of allowing Indiana's ban on gender-affirming care to go into effect, overturning a previous injunction. The decision was made by a panel of justices on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, marking the latest development in a legal battle initiated by the ACLU of Indiana against the ban.

The ban, which was enacted last spring amidst a broader national trend of GOP-led legislatures seeking to restrict LGBTQ+ rights, was initially set to take effect on July 1, 2023. However, a U.S. District Court judge had issued a temporary injunction prior to that date, blocking certain provisions of the law.

The injunction prevented the state from prohibiting minors' access to hormone therapies and puberty blockers, but allowed the prohibition on gender-affirming surgeries to stand. Additionally, it blocked provisions that would have restricted Indiana doctors from discussing gender-affirming care with out-of-state colleagues regarding patients under 18.

In response to the appeals court's ruling, the ACLU of Indiana expressed disappointment, calling it 'heartbreaking' for transgender youth, their families, and healthcare providers. The organization vowed to continue challenging the law until it is permanently overturned.

The lawsuit, brought by the ACLU on behalf of four youths undergoing gender-affirming treatments and an Indiana doctor providing such care, argued that the ban violated constitutional equal protection guarantees and infringed upon parents' rights to make medical decisions for their children.

Notably, major medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, have opposed similar restrictions in multiple states, affirming the safety and efficacy of gender-affirming care for minors when administered appropriately.

While Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita defended the law as 'commonsense,' the broader legal landscape shows a mixed response to such bans across the country. Arkansas' ban was struck down as unconstitutional, while temporary injunctions are in place in Idaho and Montana.

Indiana joins a list of 23 states that have enacted laws limiting or prohibiting gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, with ongoing legal challenges shaping the future of these policies nationwide.

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