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Thousands of people took to the streets of New York City on July 26, 2017 in opposition to anti-trans policy moves by then-President Donald Trump.

Thousands of people took to the streets of New York City on July 26, 2017 in opposition to anti-trans policy moves by then-President Donald Trump. (Photo: Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Citing Death of Roe, Alabama Urges Judge to Reinstate Trans Care Ban

GOP officials are already weaponizing the Supreme Court's abortion ruling to attack other rights they argue are not "deeply rooted in our nation's history and tradition."

Kenny Stancil

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has urged a federal court to stop preventing the state from enforcing its ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Marshall, a Republican, argued that since the high court's reactionary majority ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that abortion care cannot be protected under the 14th Amendment because it is "not deeply rooted in the nation's history and tradition," the same logic should be applied to gender-affirming care.

"[N]o one—adult or child—has a right to transitioning treatments that is deeply rooted in our nation's history and tradition," Marshall wrote in a brief filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. "The state can thus regulate or prohibit those interventions for children, even if an adult wants the drugs for his child."

One Twitter user responded to Marshall's weaponization of the right-wing justices' opinion, which critics warned would be used to launch an assault on numerous civil rights, by saying: "The Dobbs decision overruling Roe v. Wade was more than just the removal of one constitutional right. It was a massive expansion of state power to oppress."

S.B. 184, passed by Alabama's GOP-controlled Legislature on April 7 and signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) the following day, criminalizes parents who seek and doctors who provide or suggest gender-affirming healthcare for trans children. Anyone who violates the law faces a potential felony conviction that carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $15,000.

Following multiple legal challenges—including a lawsuit brought by four families, a pair of medical providers, and a minister in Alabama, as well as a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice—U.S. District Judge Liles Burke issued a partial injunction on May 14, less than a week after the legislation had taken effect.

Writing that the state provided "no credible evidence to show that transitioning medications are 'experimental,'" Burke blocked part of Alabama's newly enacted law, though he left intact other provisions, including one that prohibits school officials from withholding certain information about a child's gender identity from their parents.

As Bloomberg Law reported, Burke "found that the parents challenging the law are likely to succeed on their claim that the provision violates their due process right to direct medical care of their children, and the minor plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their equal protection claims because the act amounts to a sex-based classification."

Established medical treatments that Marshall baselessly described as "sterilizing interventions" are recognized as the standard of care by doctors and nearly two dozen major medical groups. Leading organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association, have denounced attempts to restrict access to gender-affirming care, warning that it could negatively affect the well-being of young trans people.

Polling published in August 2020 by Morning Consult and the Trevor Project found that LGBTQ+ youth "are significantly more likely than straight/cis youth to exhibit symptoms of depression, anxiety, and/or both."

Of the 600 LGBTQ+ people ages 13-24 who were surveyed, 55% reported symptoms of anxiety, 53% reported symptoms of depression, and 43% reported symptoms of both in the two weeks preceding the survey. Mental health challenges are even more common among trans and nonbinary youth, with 69%, 66%, and 61% of respondents reporting symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both, respectively.

The recent slew of Republican-authored legislation restricting the rights of transgender people has made this dire situation even worse, with 85% of trans and nonbinary youth telling the Trevor Project last fall that debates about such laws have negatively affected their mental health.

Before the Supreme Court took a sledgehammer to Roe, the right to abortion was federally protected under the 14th Amendment's due process clause.

Fears that additional constitutional rights—including access to contraception, same-sex relationships, and marriage equality—are now at risk of being ripped away have only grown since Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion that "in future cases," the nation's chief judicial body "should reconsider all of the court's substantive due process precedents."

Thomas singled out the landmark cases of Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, and Obergefell v. Hodges.

During an appearance on NewsNation last Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that he is "willing and able" to defend a ban on "sodomy" if the GOP-controlled Legislature reinstates the state's long-unenforced 1973 law criminalizing same-sex relationships or passes a similar measure that might give Thomas and his ideological allies an opportunity to overturn Lawrence.


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