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Julie Bennett | Credit: Getty Images
Julie Bennett | Credit: Getty Images

Familes and Physicians Challenge Alabama's Anti-Trans Laws

Three days after the Senate bill was signed into law, two families with transgender teenagers, along with two physicians, sued the state of Alabama to overturn

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On Friday, April 8, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law SB 184, which criminalized the act of providing transgender minors with gender-affirming healthcare, such as puberty blockers and hormones. 

Ivey also signed a separate measure, HB 322, that requires students to use bathrooms that align with their original birth certificate and bans instruction of gender and sexual identity in kindergarten through fifth grades.

Three days after the Senate bill was signed into law, two families with transgender teenagers, along with two physicians, sued the state of Alabama to overturn it. 

“By signing Sb 184, Governor Ivey has told kind, loving, and loyal Alabama families that they cannot stay here without denying their children the basic medical care they need,” one of the plaintiffs, Dr. Morissa Ladinksy, wrote in a statement.

Ladinsky said that this action has severely damaged the health and well-being of Alabama youth. She also said the law puts doctors in an awful position, forcing them to choose between ignoring their patient’s needs or risking a prison sentence. 

The parents of a 13-year-old transgender girl in Jefferson County, and a 17-year-old transgender boy in Shelby county are participating in the suit. The plaintiffs are known as Roe and Doe in the court filing in order to protect the children’s identities. 

Several LGBTQ advocacy groups are representing the plaintiffs, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). 

“SB 184 does not make our state safer; it does the exact opposite, aligning Alabama with states like Texas and Florida in attacking transgender kids. Governor Ivey should veto this legislation immediately,” wrote Camarion D. Anderson-Harvey, HRC Alabama State Director. 

The law, which will go into effect May 8 unless blocked by the court, will make it a felony for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to assist in the gender transition of anyone under the age of 19. 

Violations could result in up to 10 years in prison. The law also prohibits gender reassignment surgery, but doctors informed lawmakers that these types of procedures are rarely performed on minors. 

“We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life. Instead, let us all focus on helping them to properly develop into the adults God intended them to be,” Gov. Ivey said on Friday. 

13-year-old plaintiff “Mary Roe,” is accepted as a girl in both her school and church communities. She has been taking puberty blockers for a year now. 

“For Mary to be forced to go through male puberty would be devastating; it would predictably result in her experiencing isolation, depression, anxiety, and distress,” the lawsuit states. 

“Mary would resort to self-harm as a means of coping with her psychological distress or even attempt suicide,” the suit continues.

According to a survey conducted by The Trevor Project, 52% of all transgender and nonbinary youth in the U.S seriously considered taking their own lives in 2020. 

Similar measures have passed in other states, but Alabama is the first to establish criminal penalties for doctors. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate as abuse any reports of gender-affirming care for youth. And an Arkansas law bans gender-affirming medications, but it has been blocked by a court for now. 

“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, legal director of the ACLU of Alabama, said in a statement. 



 

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