The Alabama legislature passed a measure to ban certain transgender procedures and substances for minors, sending it to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for signature.
The bill advanced out of the state House on April 7 by a 66–28 vote, mostly along party lines. It had passed out of the Senate in February.
The “Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act,” also referred to as SB 184, would make it a felony to provide certain medical approaches, such as hormone treatment, puberty blockers, and gender-identity affirming surgery, to those under 18.
Under the proposed legislation, medical providers would face up to 10 years in prison if they are found to have provided such services.
The bill would also ban school staff from withholding information from the parent or legal guardian when a “minor’s perception of his or her gender or sex is inconsistent with the minor’s sex.”
Republican state Rep. Wes Allen, who introduced the House version of the bill, said: “We make decisions in this body all the time that are to protect children from making decisions that could permanently harm them.” He cited how minors cannot get tattoos or buy nicotine products.
Ivey has not said whether she will sign the bill, but last year she signed a bill banning transgender athletes from K-12 sports. Ivey’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, and Human Rights Campaign announced April 7 they will file a lawsuit “on behalf of two medical providers and multiple families who would be directly harmed by the law.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) commented on the bill on Twitter, saying it is “the first piece of legislation nationwide” to criminalize providing “gender-affirming care to trans youth.” The ACLU said it would sue if the bill becomes law.
The ACLU said in a separate Twitter statement: “Trans youth who want and receive gender-affirming care are more likely to thrive and less likely to contemplate suicide.”
Reuters contributed to this report.