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Judge Blocks Montana Law Banning Sex Change Surgeries For Minors

A district court judge has blocked a Montana law banning sex change surgeries for minors.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the legislation, Senate Bill 99, into law in April. It was scheduled to go into effect on October 1.

The law prohibits doctors from prescribing cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, or performing sex change surgeries on minors. Healthcare workers who violate the law could be subjected to discipline from their “licensing entity or disciplinary review board” and lose their license for a year if convicted.

A lawsuit challenging the ban was brought on by the American Civil Liberties Union which is representing Jessica and Ewout van Garderen and their 16-year-old son who identifies as a girl named “Scarlet,” Molly and Paul Cross and their 15-year-old daughter “Phoebe,” Jane and John Doe joining on behalf of their 15-year-old son who identifies as a girl, Dr. Juanita Hodax of Community Medical Center, and Dr. Katy Mistretta of Bozeman Creek Family Health.

Just four days before the new law would go into effect, District Court Judge Jason Marks issued a temporary injunction because he agreed with the plaintiffs who argued that it is “likely unconstitutional and would harm the mental and physical health of minors with gender dysphoria, rather than protect them from experimental treatments,” according to a report from the Associated Press.

The judge said Marks said he believes the Legislature’s stated intent in passing the law was “disingenuous” and that he thinks it is likely that the intent is to “ban an outcome deemed undesirable by the Montana Legislature, veiled as protection for minors.”

The AP reports, “The preliminary injunction remains in effect until a full trial can be held on the issue, but the state Department of Justice said it will appeal the injunction.”

Emilee Cantrell, deputy communications director for the state’s Department of Justice, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “because of the irreversible and immediate harms that the procedures have on children, we will be filing a notice of appeal today.”

“This is a preliminary matter at this point,” Cantrell said. “We look forward to presenting our complete factual and legal argument to protect Montana children from harmful, life-altering medications and surgeries. Because of the irreversible and immediate harms that the procedures have on children, we will be filing a notice of appeal today.”

In a press release, the ACLU said that the “fight is far from over.”

“Today’s ruling permits our clients to breathe a sigh of relief,” said Akilah Deernose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Montana. “But this fight is far from over. We look forward to vindicating our clients’ constitutional rights and ensuring that this hateful law never takes effect.”

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