Alabama Law Banning Trans Youth Health Care Goes Into Effect

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/alabama-trans-youth-law-felony

In response, lawmakers in at least 16 states are pushing “trans refuge” bills for those fleeing transphobic states.
 
Rally for trans children in St. Paul Minnesota March 6 2022.
UCG

A new Alabama law that targets trans youth went into effect on May 8 and is causing concern for LGBTQ+ people, their families, and allies. Signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey on April 8, the “Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act” makes it a felony for doctors to prescribe hormones and puberty blockers for those under age 19, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The law is part of a wider swath of anti-trans youth legislation cropping up across Republican-controlled states, but this bill is uniquely extreme in targeting health care providers with potential felony charges. Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, an Alabama pediatrician who treats gender dysphoria in children, testified during the bill’s federal court hearing: “This will force us into a place of risking a felony conviction for providing evidence-based care.”

As of this writing, the law is in effect, meaning that providing gender-affirming medical care for trans youth in Alabama is a felony. According to AL.com, the law is being challenged by a lawsuit filed by parents of four transgender youth who argue the law will “deprive their children of access to established medical care that is safe, effective, and necessary.” Also party to the suit are a child psychologist who works with trans youth, a pediatrician, and a pastor. In the meantime, plaintiffs are asking for a temporary hold on the law.

 

Trans advocates and experts are sounding the alarm. As Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman during a May 9 appearance on the program, this “[creates] an absolutely terrifying sea change in the reality on the ground for trans people, their families, and their doctors in Alabama — and not just in Alabama, but across the Southeast.” 

The University of Alabama has a gender clinic that is serving trans adolescents and their families, not just in Alabama, but in Georgia and Florida and Tennessee and Mississippi,” Strangio continued. “And in a matter of hours, all of that care is becoming a felony, which means families are uprooting their lives. They’re trying to figure out what, when, and whether they can get life-saving care for their adolescent children.”

In other states, legislators are pushing to adopt “trans refuge” policies that would welcome trans people and their families from hostile states. California senator Scott Wiener, who sponsored a bill in his home state as part of this effort, publicly criticized Alabama’s law. “At midnight, Alabama’s vile law criminalizing trans youth accessing gender-affirming care — threatening parents & doctors with 10 years in prison — went into effect. We’re working in coalition w/19 other states to pass laws granting refuge to impacted families. We have your backs,” Wiener wrote on Twitter.

According to Bay City News, the proposed California bill would stop other states from subpoenaing medical records from California in order to separate trans children from their parents or to penalize families for seeking gender-affirming care, and would bar law enforcement from, as reported by the outlet, “making or intentionally participating in the arrest of an individual with an out-of-state warrant for allowing a child to receive gender-affirming health care.” 

Twenty-one LGBTQ lawmakers in 16 states have committed to introducing similar legislation, according to the Victory Institute, an organization that promotes LGBTQ politicians.

 

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