MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Families with transgender teens sued the state of Alabama in federal court on Monday to strike down a law that makes it a crime for doctors to treat trans youth under 19 with puberty blockers or hormones to help assert their gender identity.
The two lawsuits — one on behalf of two families and the other on behalf of two families and the doctors who treat their children — pose legal challenges to legislation signed into law by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday.
“Transgender youth are part of Alabama, and they deserve the same privacy, access to treatment, and the same data-driven health care from trained medical professionals as any other Alabamian,” Tish Gotell Faulks, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said in a statement. Faulks added that lawmakers are using children as “political pawns for their re-election campaigns.” Ivey and lawmakers face primaries next month.
Unless blocked by court, Alabama’s law will go into effect May 8, making it a crime for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to help with any person’s gender transition under 19 years old. prison. It also bans gender transition surgeries, though doctors have told lawmakers these are not performed on minors in Alabama.
“The level of legislative overreach in the practice of medicine is unprecedented. And never before has legislative overreach entered pediatric examining rooms to drown out the voice of parents in medical decision-making between a parent, their pediatrician, and their child,” said Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, physician and plaintiff in one of the trials. The Associated Press in an interview.
Ivey signed the legislation Friday, a day after it was approved by the Alabama legislature. During a campaign stop on Monday, the governor cited religion when asked about her decision to sign the legislation.
“If the good Lord made you a boy at birth, then you are a boy. If the good Lord made you a girl at birth, then you are a girl,” she said. “We should especially focus our efforts on helping these young people grow into healthy adults, as God intended, rather than self-induced medical responders.”
When asked if the law would survive a legal challenge, she replied, “We’ll wait and see.”
Both lawsuits were filed by advocacy groups on behalf of families with transgender children, as well as two medical providers. The children were not identified in the lawsuits due to their age,
“I know I’m a girl and always have been,” one of the 15-year-old plaintiffs said in a statement provided by the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. “Before I even learned the word ‘transgender’ or met other trans people, I knew myself.”
In one of the lawsuits, the parents described their fears that their transgender daughter, referred to as ‘Mary Roe’ in the lawsuit, could harm herself or attempt suicide if she loses access to the puberty blockers she started taking. take last year. “For Mary to be forced through male puberty would be devastating; it would predictably result in his isolation, depression, anxiety, and distress,” the lawsuit reads.
Similar measures have been pushed in other states, but Alabama’s legislation is the first to impose criminal penalties on doctors.
In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of childcare abuse confirming the gender of children. And a law in Arkansas prohibits gender-affirming drugs. However, this law was blocked by a court.
Ivey also signed a separate measure that requires students to use bathrooms that match their original birth certificates and prohibits teaching about gender and sexual identity in kindergarten through fifth grade.