Georgia parents seek emergency court order to block ban on anti-trans health care

South Equality Campaign, Photo Unsplash by Karollyne Hubert

Four Georgia and TransParent families are petitioning a federal court to prevent the law from going into effect

Four Georgia families have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to prevent the July enactment of Georgia Senate Bill 140 (the “Health Care Ban”). Plaintiffs allege the law deprives them of the right to make important decisions about their children’s health care, including seeking and receiving appropriate medical treatment, and is causing undue harm to one of the state’s most vulnerable groups.

In their complaint and their motion to prevent the law from going into effect, the plaintiffs are asking that the government not interfere in personal health decisions that should be made by parents, children and their doctors.

“It’s just cruel to deny access to essential medical care,” said Beth Littrell, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) senior supervising attorney for LGBTQ rights and special litigation. “The health ban impairs parents’ ability to make decisions in their children’s best interests, disregards the collective knowledge of the medical community, and condemns children to years of suffering.” Laws like this are based on prejudice, misinformation and artificial fear and are as untenable as they are unconstitutional .”

Several states, including Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida, have enacted similar health bans on transgender youth, all ordered by federal courts in those states. Georgia law is unique in that it prohibits one aspect of drug treatment for gender dysphoria—hormone therapy—while allowing the provision of puberty blockers, although they go hand-in-hand as part of overall appropriate medical care.

The parents’ plaintiffs, fearing for their safety, have applied for a court order allowing them to proceed anonymously. They expressed the importance of being able to seek and provide the best medical care to support their children’s well-being and ensure their children continue to thrive and have access to appropriate medical care that meets recognized standards of care and is tailored to the needs of the community individual needs of each child is tailored to individual circumstances and needs.

“It is outrageous that Georgia has passed a law targeting one of our most vulnerable communities. “This is a direct attack on children who are just trying to be themselves and are now being harmed by the same government that was supposed to be protecting them,” said parent Paul Voe. “I cannot watch this law negatively impact the mental and physical health of my child and many others across Georgia. I have to stand up for what is right for my child and every child like her.”

“It is critical that as a family we have agency in making our own medical decisions that are in the best interests of our child. This also includes gender-equitable care,” said mother Anna Zoe. “Our sweet, bright and creative daughter has always been a girl. Her identity as a girl is as natural and innate as all the other traits she was born with – blue eyes, left-handed, and an infectious laugh. Access to gender-sensitive care will allow our daughter to grow into the person she always wanted to be and has always been inside. ”

“I am committed to fighting for my daughter’s right to access life-saving, best-practice, gender-responsive care,” said mother Emma Koe. “This law is aimed at transgender youth, their families and the providers who uphold the standards of care. It deprives me as a parent of the right to decide what medical care is best for my daughter. Access to gender-responsive care means my daughter can be the girl she always knew she was. She can grow, develop and live a happy, authentic life like any other Georgia child.”

“My child may not legally have a voice to be heard, but I do, and I will not remain silent. I will fight for my child to have the freedom to be exactly what they say they are,” said mother Hailey Moe. “Access to gender-responsive care is critical. This means my daughter has a greater chance of living a happy, thriving and fulfilling life.”

Plaintiffs in the Emma Koe et al. against Caylee Noggle et al. are represented by the SPLC, the ACLU of Georgia (ACLU-GA), the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) and the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP. The representatives gave their opinion on the situation and the reasons for the continuation of the lawsuit.

“Parents of transgender youth in Georgia want what every parent in Georgia wants — to be able to support and protect their children and provide them with the care they need to be healthy and thrive. Gender-responsive healthcare is a proven, evidence-based medical treatment necessary for the health and happiness of many transgender youth,” said Cory Isaacson, legal director of ACLU-GA. “SB 140 prohibits Georgia parents from providing their children with necessary health care and replaces parental decision-making and the professional judgment of medical providers with the will of state politicians. This lawsuit seeks to secure the right of Georgia parents to care for their children and the right of transgender youth to access the medical treatment they need.”

“SB 140 deprives families of the right to make their own medical decisions by prohibiting safe and effective medical care to treat gender dysphoria. In doing so, the state has banned essential treatments that are often life-saving for transgender youth,” said Cynthia Cheng-Wun Weaver, senior director of litigation at HRC. “Our healthcare providers and families care about nothing other than doing what is best for their patients and children. We are suing the unconstitutional attacks on transgender youth and their families.”