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Cooley + Coalition Challenge Alabama Law Targeting Transgender Adolescents

San Francisco – April 13, 2022 – Cooley, alongside the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama, Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center, filed suit on behalf of two families challenging Alabama’s recently passed law, Senate Bill 184, which criminally punishes with up to 10 years in prison the provision of medical care to transgender youth. A motion for preliminary injunction of the law also has been filed on behalf of the families. Lawyers Adam Katz, Andrew Barr, Elizabeth Reinhardt, Julie Veroff, Katelyn Kang, Kathleen Hartnett, Robby Saldaña, Valeria M. Pelet del Toro and Zoë Helstrom are leading the Cooley effort.

The lawsuit alleges that SB 184 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. A federal court has blocked Arkansas from enforcing a similar law that was passed last year, while a state court in Texas has blocked the state from investigating parents of transgender adolescents receiving gender-affirming care for child abuse.

“Transgender youth are a part of Alabama, and they deserve the same privacy, access to treatment, and data-driven health care from trained medical professionals as any other Alabamian,” Tish Gotell Faulks, ACLU of Alabama’s legal director, said in a news release. “We will fight to make sure this is the reality for trans kids and their families, and we condemn the intrusive actions of the lawmakers who voted to use children as political pawns for their reelection campaigns.”

Medical organizations, doctors and major businesses have repeatedly opposed these bills. Studies show that transgender children who receive gender-affirming care such as puberty-delaying medication and/or hormones when they are young have better mental health outcomes, and report fewer cases of depression, self-harm and suicide or attempted suicide. Families of transgender young people say that being denied medically necessary care will be devastating for the mental and physical health of their adolescent children.

“This legislation poses an unconstitutional threat to the livelihood and well-being of transgender youth,” Hartnett said. “We are proud to be part of this fight to protect the civil rights of young people and their families.”

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Cooley partners with local and national legal services organizations to represent hundreds of pro bono clients annually. Through its pro bono work, Cooley empowers individuals to seek justice and opportunity, and provides nonprofit organizations with the tools they need to effect change and support underserved communities.

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Related Contacts
Adam M. Katz  Associate Boston
Andrew Barr  Associate Colorado
Elizabeth Reinhardt  Associate Boston
Julie Veroff  Associate San Francisco
Katelyn Kang  Associate New York
Kathleen R. Hartnett  Partner San Francisco
Robby L.R. Saldaña  Associate Washington, DC
Zoë Segil  Associate San Francisco
Kelly Murata  Paralegal Specialist San Francisco
Related Practices & Industries

Pro Bono