MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can ban abortion, Alabama seized the ruling arguing that the state should also be able to ban medical treatments affirming the gender for transgender youth.
The case marks one of the first known cases in which a conservative state tried to apply the abortion ruling to other areas, much as LGBTQ advocates and others feared would happen.
Critics have expressed concern that the legal reasoning behind the High Court ruling could lead to a rollback of rulings on issues such as same-sex marriage and birth control.
State is asking a federal appeals court to lift an injunction and let it enforce an Alabama law that would make it a crime to give puberty blockers or hormones to transgender minors to help them affirm their gender identity.
In its landmark decision last Friday, the United States Supreme Court declared that the termination of pregnancy is not a fundamental constitutional right because abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution and is not “profoundly rooted in the history and tradition of this nation”.
In a brief filed Monday, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office similarly argued that gender transition treatments are not “deeply rooted in our history or traditions,” and therefore the state has the power to ban them. Alabama maintains that such treatments are dangerous and experimental, a view disputed by medical organizations.
Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said this was the first case she knew of in which a state cited the abortion ruling on another issue, but added, “It won’t be not the last”.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion that the abortion decision should not cast “doubt on precedents that do not relate to abortion.” But Judge Clarence Thomas wrote that the same legal reasoning should be used to reconsider high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, same-sex sex and contraceptives.
“It’s no surprise that Alabama and other extremely conservative states are accepting this invitation as forcefully as possible,” Minter said. “Judge Thomas’ deal was a declaration of war against groups already under attack, and we expect the hostility to escalate.”
He said an overhaul of these constitutional protections could affect things like birth control and parental rights.
“They’re not just about LGBT people,” Minter said.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was unavailable for comment Thursday, a spokesperson said.
Jeff Walker, who has a 15-year-old transgender daughter, said this spring he feels Alabama is attacking families like his with legislation targeting drugs for transgender children and dictating their choice of school restrooms. , locker rooms and sports teams. He said the state’s argument in this case is worrisome to everyone.
“I think everyone should be concerned about the wording of this appeal. By that logic, any health care that the state deems inconsistent with its morals or beliefs should be banned,” Walker said.
The Alabama case could become a first test of the judges’ position on the scope of the abortion ruling. The appeals court granted the state’s request for an accelerated schedule for submission of briefs, and a decision could come as soon as this fall.
While Alabama was already appealing the injunction in the transgender drug case, the state quickly incorporated the abortion decision into its case.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the law this spring that criminalizes up to 10 years in prison the distribution of certain drugs to minors to facilitate their gender transition.
A federal judge in May issued a preliminary injunction blocking the measure, siding with parents who said the law violated their children’s rights and their own rights to direct their children’s medical care.
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