Alabama Cites Supreme Court Abortion Decision in Transgender Youth Case

Just days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade,  Alabama has cited that ruling in a bid to outlaw parents from obtaining puberty blockers and certain other medical treatment for their transgender children.

The citation came in an appeal by Alabama’s attorney general seeking to lift a federal court injunction that partially blocked enforcement of a newly enacted state ban on medical interventions for transgender youths.

The appeal is believed to mark the first time a state has expressly invoked the recent Supreme Court opinion overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and applied the same reasoning to a separate issue bearing on other rights.

Echoing the high court’s language in striking down Roe, the Alabama appeal filed on Monday argued that the state has the authority to outlaw puberty-blocking hormones and other therapies for transgender minors in part because they are not “deeply rooted in our history or traditions.”

The appeal also asserted that such treatments are dangerous and experimental.

The decision from the Supreme Court on June 24 immediately paved the way for numerous states to enact measures banning or restricting abortions.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said in the majority opinion that the abortion ruling should not cast “doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” But Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the same legal reasoning should be used to reconsider high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex, and contraceptives.

The Alabama law, passed by a Republican-dominated legislature, was blocked from enforcement in May, less than a week after it went into effect, in a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Liles Burke, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump.

Burke held that higher court rulings made clear that parents have a right to direct the medical care of their children if it meets acceptable standards and that transgender people are protected against discrimination under federal law.

Burke left in place the part of the law banning sex-altering surgeries and other provisions prohibiting school officials from keeping certain gender-identity information secret from parents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.