The State of Alabama has won a small victory as it continues to fight challenges to its 2022 ban on transgender surgeries and hormones for people under 19.

In April 2022, Gov. Kay Ivey signed VCAP (SB184) into law, which prohibits doctors in Alabama from performing transgender operations or prescribing cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers to individuals under 19. 

VCAP went into effect on May 8, 2022, but was blocked by U.S. District Judge Liles Burke a few days later. The injunction by Burke came after multiple parties added themselves as plaintiffs in the case, including five transgender minors by way of their parents, the United States of America and Kaitlin Toyama, an attorney-advisor with the civil rights division of the DOJ.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in November 2022.

Despite the current deliberation by the 11th Circuit, Burke is still responsible for deliberating motions on the case.

On Monday, Burke ruled in favor of the state on a motion made in March related to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)

In their arguments, plaintiffs have repeatedly cited information from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), WPATH and the Endocrine Society to validate their claims.

All listed organizations offer full support for "gender-affirming care" and encourage "social transitioning" at any age and medical transitioning in early and late teens.

When the state requested discovery on internal documents from those groups, the organizations filed a motion to quash.

After resolving the disputes with the other organizations, the state then turned its full attention to WPATH. The guidelines it offers for treating gender dysphoria were repeatedly called "the gold standard" in court proceedings.  

The state’s subpoena requests include the following:

·  The process WPATH used to create, review, and adopt their position statements, treatment guidelines, and standards of care regarding transitioning treatments.

·  WPATH’s consideration, if any, of the UK’s NICE literature reviews, the Swedish and French statements regarding transitioning care for minors, and certain other literature related to transitioning minors.

·  WPATH’s “reaction to members’ concerns about pediatric transitioning care in America”;

·  WPATH’s involvement, if any, in the creation of standards of care or diagnostic standards for other organizations related to pediatric transitioning.

·  WPATH’s review of the literature related to transitioning treatments for minors.

·  WPATH’s knowledge of pediatric transitioning treatments in Alabama.

In WPATH’s motion to quash, they claimed the state’s requests infringed on its First Amendment rights, imposed undue burden and were not relevant to the plaintiffs’ case.

In Burke’s Monday filing, he said that the state’s requests were “unquestionably relevant” and that the state’s requests impose “no undue burden” on WPATH and WPATH’s First Amendment rights are uninfringed by the requested documents.  

“Proscription of the discovery Defendants seek would, in essence, amount to acceptance of WPATH’s standards as “established, evidence-based clinical guidelines” on WPATH’s word alone, and without further inquiry,” Burke wrote.

The plaintiffs in the case have introduced WPATH’s guidelines as the “gold standard” authority for treating gender dysphoria. The state is attempting to prove that the guidelines are not backed by medical evidence. Instead, the state argues the guidelines are ideologically driven.

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