Alabama Passes Bill Making Some Transgender Healthcare a Felony

Photo credit: Reuters

Alabama passed a bill yesterday that would criminalize gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth, making it a felony punishable with up to 10 years in prison to provide any medical care. 

It marks the latest in a flurry of measures in Republican-majority states over the rights of transgender youth. 

The legislation was passed by Alabama’s conservative-led House of Representatives in a vote of 66 to 28. 

It is now up to Republican Governor Kay Ivey to sign the bill into law. Ivey has not yet said whether she will sign the bill, but it is assumed that she will. Last year, Ivey signed a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in school athletics. 

The American Civil Liberties Union said it was the first bill of its kind to make healthcare for transgender youth a felony, and said that it would challenge the bill in court if the governor signs it into law. 

If medical care is provided for minors, including hormone treatments, puberty blockers, and gender reassignment surgery, the provider could go to prison for a decade. 

School personnel will also be compelled to disclose to the parent or legal guardian that a minor’s “perception” of their gender is “inconsistent with the minor’s sex.” 

Medical and mental health professionals say that gender-affirming care saves lives because it reduces the extreme risks of depression and suicide. They have also pointed out that gender-confirming surgeries for minors are extremely rare, and only take place after years of treatment. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics is strongly opposing the bill and has urged the governor to veto it, saying that it targets vulnerable youth and puts them at great risk of physical and mental harm. 

The Alabama Senate also passed a bill that will require students in public schools to use bathrooms or changing rooms based on what was written on their original birth certificate. An amendment attached to the bill prohibits classroom discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity. The House will now review it for a vote. 

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