On April 8, 2022, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law SB 184. The law directly targets transgender adolescents and their families by imposing criminal penalties on any individual, including parents and healthcare providers, who facilitate or provide essential medical care to transgender adolescents for the treatment of gender dysphoria.
NCLR, SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center), Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, along with co-counsel Lightfoot, Franklin, & White LLC, and King & Spalding LLP represent the plaintiffs – each of whom could face penalties under the law. Those challenging the law include four families with transgender adolescents, joined by a private practice pediatrician in rural Southeast Alabama and a clinical psychologist with the UAB medical system. Plaintiffs challenge the law, claiming that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it singles out transgender adolescents, prohibiting them from obtaining essential medical care based on their sex and transgender status. The 14th Amendment—under the Due Process Clause—also protects the right of parents to make medical decisions for their children, and Plaintiffs claim that the law violates this fundamental right by preventing parents from obtaining medically necessary care for their adolescent children. The United States Department of Justice also intervened in the case, challenging the constitutionality of SB 184 for impermissibly discriminating against transgender youth.
Following a two-day, evidentiary hearing at the beginning of May, the Court entered an order that prohibits the State of Alabama and the other Defendants from enforcing SB 184 pending the final resolution of the case. The Defendants immediately appealed that order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The appeal is fully briefed and will be argued on November 18, 2022.
Even though there is a pending appeal, the parties are continuing to move the case forward and prepare for trial, which is currently scheduled for October 2023.
If you would like to learn more about this case you can read our press release following the district court judge’s decision to implement the preliminary injunction.