Alabama’s law that makes it a felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth went into effect yesterday, the first such sweeping ban.
Doctors in the state who prescribe puberty blockers or other gender-affirming care to transgender minors and adults under the age of 19 could now face up to 10 years in prison.
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Arkansas passed a similar law last year, but a federal court issued a temporary injunction to block it from going into effect.
The judge who is presiding over a federal challenge to Alabama’s law has not yet issued such an injunction. In a hearing last week, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke didn’t tell anyone when he would rule on the motion seeking to stop the trans medical ban from being enforced while the case works its way through court, meaning that trans youth could be forced to de-transition or go through a puberty that will increase their dysphoria – and their lifelong risk of suicide.
Last month, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed the ban on providing gender-affirming care to transgender young people. Shortly after, two trans kids and their families and two doctors sued the state to stop the law from going into effect, alleging it violates their Equal Protection and Due Process rights under the Constitution by denying them access to health care specifically because of their identities.
The Biden administration has also filed suit against the state of Alabama to stop the law from going into effect.
The ban “discriminates against transgender youth by denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care,” the Department of Justice wrote in a press release. “It further discriminates against transgender youth by barring them from accessing particular procedures while allowing non-transgender minors to access the same or similar procedures.”
Several other states, including Florida, Missouri, and Wisconsin, are considering bills to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth.