Justice Department Challenges Alabama Transgender Law

The US Department of Justice on Friday challenged an Alabama law that makes it a crime for doctors to treat transgender people under the age of 19 with puberty blockers and hormones to help them affirm their new gender identity. The department’s motion seeks to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional and seeking to prevent it from taking effect on May 8. The action comes after the department sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general warning that preventing transgender and non-binary youth from receiving gender-affirming care could violate federal constitutional protections. Doctors and others could face up to 10 years in prison for violating Alabama law. Trans youth and parents said Alabama was trying to ban what they deemed necessary, and sometimes life-saving care for them. “The law discriminates against transgender minors by unjustifiably denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care,” the complaint states. “Because of SB 184, medical professionals, parents, and minors of age to make their own medical decisions are forced to choose between forgoing medically necessary procedures and treatments or facing criminal prosecution.” Alabama Republicans who supported the law argued that he is A spokeswoman for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said, ‘We stand ready to uphold our Alabama values ​​and this legislation’ . Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Friday that “the Biden administration has chosen to prioritize leftist politics over the children of Alabama.” . Science and common sense are on Alabama’s side. We will win this fight to protect our children,” Marshall said in a statement. State attorneys in an initial court appearance last week argued that the science of the treatments was in doubt and therefore the state had a role in regulation. Marshall said there is “a growing body of evidence that using experimental drugs on vulnerable children with gender dysphoria will cause significant lifelong harm.” Doctors providing the treatments and medical groups have said the treatments meet accepted, evidence-based standards of care. As the law’s effective date approaches, some Alabama parents with trans children say they feel their children are being exploited for political gain in an area that may already feel unwelcoming. “LGBTQ people have always been part of our community, but we are being silenced and beaten by the Bible Belt,” said Pamela Northington, mother of a trans teenager. children they have to wait for only adds years to their struggle. “The transitioning youth’s emotional state is already heightened due to bullying and fear of not being accepted. I fear that for some of them it will become tragic. “U.S. District Judge Liles Burke has scheduled a May 5 hearing on a request to block Alabama officials from enforcing the law while the legal challenge continues. Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign – an LGBTQ advocacy group – said they are “encouraged to see the Department of Justice weigh in on this law that so severely interferes in the lives of Alabama families. Alabama is among several states with Republican-controlled legislatures that have advanced bills regarding transgender youth and LGBTQ issues. Alabama’s law is the most extensive and the first to criminalize treatment. Texas Governor Greg Abbott had ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of care-giver abuse confirming the children’s gender. Arkansas also banned gender-affirming drugs, but that law was blocked from going into effect.

The US Department of Justice on Friday challenged an Alabama law that makes it a crime for doctors to treat transgender people under the age of 19 with puberty blockers and hormones to help them assert their new identities. of gender.

The Department’s motion seeks to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the straight as unconstitutional and seeking to prevent it from taking effect on May 8.

The action comes after the department sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general warning them that barring transgender and non-binary youth from receiving gender-affirming care could violate federal constitutional protections.

Doctors and others would face up to 10 years in prison for violating Alabama law. Youth and trans parents have says Alabama attempts to deny them what they deem necessary, and sometimes life-saving care for them.

“The law discriminates against transgender minors by unjustifiably denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care,” the complaint states. to choose between foregoing medically necessary procedures and treatments or facing criminal prosecution.”

Alabama Republicans who supported the law argued it was necessary to protect children. A spokeswoman for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said, “We stand ready to uphold our Alabama values ​​and this legislation.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Friday that “the Biden administration has chosen to prioritize leftist politics over the children of Alabama.”

“As we will show in this case, the DOJ’s assertion that these treatments are ‘medically necessary’ is ideological misinformation. Science and common sense are on Alabama’s side. We will win this fight to protect our children. said Marshall in a statement.

State attorneys in an initial court appearance last week argued that the science of the treatments was in doubt and therefore the state had a role to play in regulation. Marshall said there is “a growing body of evidence that using experimental drugs on vulnerable children with gender dysphoria will cause significant lifelong harm.” Doctors providing the treatments and medical groups have said the treatments meet accepted, evidence-based standards of care.

As the law’s effective date draws closer, some Alabama parents with trans children say they feel their children are being exploited for political gain in an area that may already feel little welcoming.

“LGBTQ people have always been part of our community, but we are being silenced and beaten by the Bible Belt,” said Pamela Northington, mother of a trans teenager.

She said telling children they have to wait only adds years to their struggle. “The transitioning youth’s emotional state is already heightened due to bullying and fear of not being accepted. I fear that for some of them it will become tragic. ”

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke has scheduled a May 5 hearing on a request to block Alabama officials from enforcing the law while the legal challenge continues.

Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign – an LGBTQ rights group – said they were “encouraged to see the Department of Justice weigh in on this law which interferes so badly with the lives of families in the Alabama”.

Alabama is among several states with Republican-controlled legislatures that have advanced bills regarding transgender youth and LGBTQ issues. Alabama’s law is the most extensive and the first to criminalize treatment. Texas Governor Greg Abbott had ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of care-giver abuse confirming the children’s gender. Arkansas also banned gender-affirming drugs, but that law was blocked from going into effect.

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