Alabama lawmakers ban ‘gender-affirming’ medication for transgender youth

Alabama lawmakers ban ‘gender-affirming’ medication for transgender youth

On Thursday, Alabama lawmakers approved significant legislation aimed at outlawing “gender-affirming” medications for transgender youth and pushed forward a separate measure stopping early classroom discussion on sexual and gender identity.

That measure mirrors similar legislation passed in Florida, which has been dubbed by critics as “Don’t Say Gay.”

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the measure on a vote of 66-28, as the legislation will make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or to perform surgery to aid in the gender transition of anyone under the age of 19.

The bill is now headed to the office of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey for her stamp of approval as Alabama now becomes the latest Republican-led state to promote such legislation and policies.

Rep. Neil Rafferty, who is the only openly gay member of the state’s Legislature, appeared frustrated as the lawmakers headed to take the vote.

“This is wrong,” Rafferty said. “Y’all sit there and campaign on family being the foundation of our nation…but what this bill is doing is totally undermining that. It’s totally undermining family rights, health rights, and access to health care.”

But the House bill’s sponsor, GOP Rep. Wes Allen, said during debate that transgender youth are not yet old enough to make decisions about such significant medication. “Their brains are not developed to make the decisions long term about what these medications and surgeries do to their body,” he argued.

So far, no indication has been given on whether Ivey will be signing the measure. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki let reporters know on Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice has cautioned states that these types of laws and policies could be in violation of the Constitution as well as federal law.

“Today’s vote in Alabama will only serve to harm kids,” she commented.

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