May 9, 2022 – Alabama has become the first state to ban doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender people under the age of 19, The Associated Press reported.
The Compassionate and Protecting Vulnerable Children Act came into force on Sunday and makes it a crime to treat young transgender people with puberty blockers and hormones or to perform gender-affirming medical procedures on them. The convictions could be punishable by 10 years in prison.
The new law also requires teachers and other school officials to notify a child’s parents if the child reveals they believe they are transgender, the Associated Press reported.
Arkansas passed a similar law last year, but a judge issued a restraining order that blocked enforcement before it took effect.
Four parents of transgender children have filed a federal lawsuit to block enforcement of the Alabama law. The US Department of Justice joined the lawsuit, saying the law is unconstitutional. A federal judge heard the arguments last week but has yet to rule, the Associated Press said.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the state will continue to defend the law in court.
“Science and common sense are on Alabama’s side. We will win this fight to protect our children,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
A doctor who runs an Alabama clinic that treats transgender children said the new law poses a threat to their well-being.
“They’ve always been around, but they often didn’t feel like they had the power to come out or come out to their doctors,” Hussein Abdul-Latif, MD, told The Associated. Press. “And now that they are, we are responding to them with legal action.”
Morissa Ladinsky, MD, who practices with Abdul-Latif, said the new law is creating a crisis for doctors like her.
“This is the first time I remember, at least for paediatricians, that we are literally forced to choose between the Hippocratic oath we took to ‘do no harm’ and never abandon our patients or face a possible felony conviction,” she said.
The legislation states that the law is necessary because “minors, and often their parents, are unable to fully understand and appreciate the risks and consequences to life, including permanent sterility, which result from the use of puberty blockers. cross-sex hormones and surgical procedures.