ALABAMA (WHNT) – Alabama parents and LGBTQ advocates are opposing a bill that would criminalize the use of gender-affirming medications to treat transgender minors. Advocates say when minors do not have access to this type of medical care, they are put at an elevated risk of facing mental health issues.
“Organizations across the county agree, affirming a child’s identity is best practices and access to appropriate medical care for our adolescents is life-saving procedures and suicide prevention,” said Trans Family Support Services Founder and Executive Director Kathie Moehlig. Protection of children is access to this care.”
SB 184, the bill that would keep trans youth from accessing puberty blockers and hormone treatments, was passed by the Alabama Legislature in April. Less than a month later, the was blocked in district court, with the court saying the law would bar people from accessing effective medical care and that doing so would cause severe harm.
Under the law, parents and doctors could face up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
“We are seeing more and more families terrified of losing their right to make medical decisions with their doctors on their child’s behalf, on their adolescent’s behalf,” Moehlig said.
Now, the state of Alabama is asking a federal appeals court to overturn the injunction currently blocking the law. Several groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), have stepped in to represent multiple Alabama parents and doctors who want to keep the bill from taking effect.
“It is an extreme attempt to deny transgender young people access to what is the standard of care medical treatments for gender dysphoria,” said NCLR Senior Staff Attorney and Transgender Youth Project Director Asaf Orr.
Orr said the state has so far failed to prove that gender-affirming medical care is dangerous for minors.
“This care is the standard of care,” Orr said. “It’s not experimental. It’s not dangerous. In fact, it is safe and effective for the treatment of gender dysphoria.”
Advocates said the bill takes rights away from families.
“Politicians taking this right away is not going to stop trans adolescents from being transgender,” Moehlig said. “It is just terrorizing them and their family.”
The 11th U.S. circuit court of appeals has tentatively set arguments in this case for the week of November 14th in Montgomery.