Kentucky’s gender-affirming care ban takes effect after federal judge lifts injunction

Transgender symbol graphic
Transgender symbol graphic

The ban on gender-affirming care in Kentucky was restored on Friday, July 14 after a federal judge for the Western District of Kentucky ruled to stay the preliminary injunction in Doe v Thornbury. Now, transgender and non-binary minors in the state will be barred from receiving hormone therapy and puberty blockers. 

The judge’s ruling came at the request of Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General, Daniel Cameron. In a statement following the decision, Cameron announced he is “celebrating” the ruling. 

“Today’s ruling is a win for parents and children. I’m grateful to the district court for doing what the law requires, which is protecting Kentucky kids from the irreversible harms that these experimental drug treatments would cause,” he said. “Moving forward, my office will continue to defend Senate Bill 150 and stand up for the right of children to be children, free from the influences of leftist activists and radical gender ideology.”

Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) are denouncing the court’s recent decision. 

“While we strongly disagree with this opinion, it is only in effect while our appeal is pending in front of the Sixth Circuit,” Corey Shapiro, legal director for the ACLU of Kentucky said. “It is not the final word, and we remain optimistic that with a full briefing we will achieve a positive result.”

According to the ACLU of Kentucky, banning essential medical care for transgender youth in Kentucky is harmful, discriminatory, and egregious government overreach. They believe lawmakers have no place inserting themselves into the personal medical decisions of families of transgender youth and their health care providers, and by doing so they are violating the fundamental rights and freedoms of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. 

“Six federal district court judges have ruled on challenges to medical bans, including Kentucky’s. Each one has listened carefully to the evidence and found that these bans have no basis in medical science, discriminate against transgender youth, and cause serious harms by denying medically needed care,” Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR and the ACLU of Kentucky’s co-counsel in the case, said. “We are hopeful that when the Sixth Circuit reviews the record and has the benefit of full briefing in this case, it will reach the same conclusion.”

The Kentucky case has been consolidated with Tennessee’s. Both cases will now proceed under expedited review.

“This is a temporary setback, but it is not the end of the fight,” the ACLU and NCLR said in a joint statement regarding the ruling. “The ACLU of Kentucky and our co-counsel NCLR remain committed to protecting the civil liberties of ALL Kentuckians. Legislators have no place in Kentuckians’ personal medical decisions, and we will continue to fight for equal rights and equal protection under the law.”