MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Both lawsuits over the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act have been dismissed. This law, recently signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, criminalizes gender-affirming medical treatment to minors.
Plaintiffs say they will be back, but Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall calls this a confusing move.
According to court documents, both cases were consolidated to the Court of the Northern District of Alabama on Friday, and on the same day both were voluntarily dismissed without prejudice nine minutes apart. Judge Liles Burke’s statement on the dismissal reads “Plaintiffs’ counsel is now telling the media that they ‘plan to refile immediately.’ At the risk of stating the obvious, Plaintiffs’ course of conduct could give the appearance of judge shopping.”
However, there’s still a possibility this is just the beginning of what’s to come.
“SB184 was hastily passed by the Alabama Legislature on April 7,” Melody Eagan, legal counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
”On April 8, Alabama enacted the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act to protect children from experimental medical procedures that have no proven benefit and carry a substantial risk of long-term, irreversible harm,” Marshall said in a tweet.
But by April 15 both cases against the state were withdrawn.
“We were unhappy that it happened,” said Denny Ham.
The Ham family is not involved with the lawsuit, but they are directly impacted by the law that will affect their 13-year-old transgender son, Rin.
“Incredible resilience is really how I would turn that,” said Ham. “Like he’s being very resilient about it.”
Due to the pandemic, Rin was not able to start their hormone treatments but is in the process of being able to do so.
“Now we have to shift gears and figure out if that’s even going to be something possible unless the law somehow gets rejected,” said Melissa Ham.
Marshall says with the cases withdrawn; he feels like rejection is now not as likely.
“Claiming that you’re seeking immediate relief because of the harm that’s going to occur to your clients, then how legitimate is that claim,” said Marshall.
In a statement, Eagan said they are “hearing from numerous Alabama families, including patients facing loss of critical medical care and parents facing potential criminal penalties for seeking recommended medical care.”
Eagan continued, “We plan to file a new case in the immediate future to block this dangerous law.”
“The question is why they dismiss it in the first place, and what is it they’re going to allege any differently in a new filing,” said Marshall.
These are questions that have not been answered, as WSFA 12 News reached out to many plaintiffs involved in the case and have not had heard back yet.
If it is not blocked, the law is set to go into effect on May 8.
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