7th Circuit allows Indiana’s ban on care for transgender youth to take effect

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed Indiana’s ban on care for transgender youth to take effect.

The court issued a stay Tuesday, overturning a June decision from a federal judge that blocked the health care ban.

The three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the case on Feb. 16 and released its decision Tuesday, saying it would release an opinion at a later date.

Indiana’s Senate Bill 480 bans health care providers from administering gender-affirming medical care to transgender minors.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Indiana released a joint statement following the decision.

“This ruling is beyond disappointing and a heartbreaking development for thousands of transgender youth, their doctors, and their families,” the statement said. “As we and our clients consider our next steps, we want all the transgender youth of Indiana to know this fight is far from over and we will continue to challenge this law until it is permanently defeated and Indiana is a safer place to raise every family.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed the bill on April 5, 2023, just after he said the legislation was “clear as mud.” Hours later, the ACLU sued the state on behalf of transgender children and their families, claiming that the law violates the federal requirements of the Medicaid Act, the Affordable Care Act and the U.S. Constitution.

Supporters of the ban say that the potential harms of gender-affirming medical care have not been thoroughly studied. Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher said in oral arguments last year that he supports the legislation because “we don’t want our children to be part of this grand experiment.”

Gender-affirming care for transgender people is considered medically necessary and is often lifesaving, many medical organizations say.

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