published : 2023-09-27

Montana Judge Temporarily Blocks Ban on Transgender Surgeries and Medical Intervention for Minors

Montana SB 99 banned puberty blockers, hormone treatment, and transgender surgical procedures for minors with gender dysphoria

A judge in Montana, taken with a Nikon D850

A state judge in Montana has temporarily blocked a ban on transgender surgeries and medical intervention for minors, dealing a blow to the Republican-backed legislation.

The law, known as SB 99 or the 'Youth Health Protection Act,' aimed to prohibit puberty blockers, hormone treatment, and transgender surgical procedures for minors with gender dysphoria.

However, District Court Judge Jason Marks granted a preliminary injunction, stating that the law likely violates Montana's Equal Protection Clause and infringes on fundamental rights.

According to the ruling, the law classifies on the basis of transgender status, making it a sex-based classification and subjecting it to strict scrutiny.

Judge Marks argued that the law does not serve the purported compelling governmental interests of protecting minor Montanans from harmful medical treatments.

Medical equipment used in transgender surgeries, taken with a Canon EOS R5

Additionally, the judge stated that the law likely violates the plaintiffs' rights to privacy under the state constitution.

Opponents of the ban argue that it intentionally burdens transgender individuals' ability to seek necessary care to align their body with their gender identity.

They claim that treatments for gender dysphoria meet standards of care approved by major medical organizations.

Montana Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law in April, but Wednesday's ruling has temporarily halted its enforcement.

The governor's office has vowed to appeal the decision, citing the potential irreversible and harmful effects of the procedures on children.

Protesters holding signs in support of transgender rights, taken with a Sony A7 III

For now, the ruling provides a temporary victory to two transgender children, their parents, and two medical providers who sued to prevent the law from taking effect.

The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Montana, and Lambda Legal.

They argue that the ban serves no purpose other than to burden transgender individuals seeking necessary care.

Montana is one of 22 states that have enacted bans on transgender medical intervention for minors, and many of these laws are facing legal challenges.