Indiana court rules state’s ban on gender-transitioning treatments for minors is enforceable

Indiana can now enforce a law banning minors from seeking gender-transitioning treatments after a federal appeals court ruled to remove a temporary injunction issued by a judge last year, which kept the ban from going into effect last summer.

A three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago handed down the decision on Tuesday. Two of the judges were appointed by presidents Reagan and Trump, while the third judge was appointed by President Biden.

The bill, which was signed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb on April 5, 2023, was set to become law on July 1, 2023, but was blocked by a judge a month prior following a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

U.S. District Court Judge James Patrick Hanlon issued the injunction, which halted the parts of the law prohibiting minors from accessing hormone therapies and puberty blockers, and prohibiting Indiana doctors from communicating with out-of-state doctors about transgender-related treatments for minors. The law’s ban on gender-transitioning surgeries for minors was still allowed to take effect.


On Tuesday, the ACLU of Indiana issued a written statement in response to the appeals court’s ruling, describing it as “heartbreaking” for transgender minors, their families and doctors.

“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,” the statement read. “We will continue to challenge this law until it is permanently defeated and Indiana is made a safer place to raise every family.”

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita did not share those sentiments and praised the court’s decision in a post on X, formerly Twitter, Tuesday evening.

“Our commonsense state law, banning dangerous and irreversible gender-transition procedures for minors, is now enforceable following the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s newest order. We are proud to win this fight against the radicals who continue pushing this horrific practice on our children for ideological and financial reasons,” he wrote.


The ACLU of Indiana filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of four minors undergoing gender-transitioning treatments and a doctor providing such care. The organization argued that the ban violates the Constitution’s equal protection guarantees and strips parents of the right to make medical decisions for their children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, among other medical groups, claim minors can safely seek gender-transitioning treatments if they are being administered properly.

Representatives from the state’s only hospital-based gender health program at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis told legislators last year that doctors do not perform or provide referrals for genital surgeries for minors, according to The Associated Press. The hospital was not involved in the lawsuit opposing the ban.

Twenty-two other states have also enacted laws restricting or banning gender-transitioning treatments for minors. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

The bans are in limbo in some of those states as a federal court ruled Arkansas’ ban is unconstitutional and temporary injunctions were placed on the laws in Idaho and Montana.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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