On Wednesday, Alabama legislators passed legislation making it a crime to give minor transgender people hormones, puberty-blockers or other surgeries to affirm their gender identity.
This bill is just one of many such measures that are being considered in the statehouses throughout the country.
The Senate-passed legislation was approved by the House Judiciary Committee, and now it moves to the full Alabama House of Representatives. A House version of the bill was also approved by the committee. It would be a crime for a doctor or surgeon to perform surgery to assist in gender transitions of persons 18 and younger to make the prescriptions.
Rep. Wes Allen (the Republican sponsor of this bill) stated that adults are free to do whatever they like, but that the bill was to protect children.
Allen claimed that children aren't mature enough to make decisions about medications. He compared it to the way lawmakers have passed legislation to protect them from smoking, alcohol and vaping.
He stated that it was not a good idea to give the medications to children and that it would be an abuse to do so.
Opponents claim that lawmakers are interfering with decisions that should be made by doctors and families.
"We are not supposed to be here substituting for our judgment for that person closest to the child, and I personally believe this legislation doesn’t protect them, it endsangers them and their families," stated Rep. Chris England from Tuscaloosa, a Democratic representative.
In July , a federal judge temporarily blocked an Arkansas law similar to the one that would have banned gender-confirming treatment for transgender youth. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state for its ban on transgender youths, their families, and two gender-confirming doctors.
Alabama's legislation is just one of many billsmoving across statehouses that could affect transgender people.
In earlier public hearings, parents and a transgender teenager spoke out against the bill.
The committee has given its approval, and the Alabama legislation is now close to final approval. The Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the country, has condemned the committee's actions.
"Alabama has decided, against the advice of top doctors across the nation, to criminalize critical care that transgender youth desperately need. This decision severely restricts parents' rights and that of medical providers to make individual health care decisions for each child, with the aim of reducing transgender children's emotional and physical distress," Carmarion Anderson Harvey, Alabama director of the Human Rights Campaign, stated in a statement.