Alabama outlaws gender-affirming medicines for trans kids

Southeast

Sunny Bryant poses in her bedroom at her Houston, Texas, home on March 4, 2022. – Standing in front of a half-US, half-rainbow flag outside her home, Rebekah Bryant is outraged after the state of Texas ruled that hormone treatments she might give her transgender daughter, Sunny, 8, when she reaches adolescence are illegal. In February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, directed his Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to “conduct a prompt and thorough investigation” into instances of minors receiving “so-called ‘sex change’ procedures.” The DFPS has already launched investigations into parents of transgender children, although a Texas judge on March 11, 2022 issued a temporary injunction blocking Abbott’s order. (Photo by Francois PICARD / AFP) (Photo by FRANCOIS PICARD/AFP via Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama law banning the use of gender-affirming medications to treat transgender minors quietly took effect Sunday, as a federal judge continues to consider a request to block the state from enforcing it.

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke had cautioned attorneys Friday that he might not have a decision on a request for a preliminary injunction by the law’s effective date. Burke said he and his staff would do “nothing else” but work on the issue.

The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act makes it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to prescribe or administer puberty blockers and hormones to transgender people younger than 19 to help affirm their new gender identity. It also requires school counselors, teachers and other school officials to tell parents if a minor discloses they think they are transgender.

Four families with transgender children and others filed a lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Justice joined challenging the law as discriminatory, an unconstitutional violation of equal protection and free speech rights and an intrusion into family medical decisions.

The plaintiffs asked Burke to issue an order blocking enforcement of the statute while the lawsuit goes forward. A total of 23 medical and mental health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have also urged the judge to enjoin the law.

Attorneys for Alabama argued the ban should be allowed to go forward.

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