Saturday, October 1, 2022

Justice Department challenges Alabama transgender law

Montgomery, Ala. ( Associated Press) — The U.S. Justice Department on Friday challenged an Alabama law requiring doctors to treat transgender people under the age of 19 with puberty-blockers and hormones to help confirm their new gender identity. is a crime.

The department’s proposal seeks to intervene in the ongoing litigation challenging the law as unconstitutional and seeking to stop it from taking effect from May 8.

The action comes after the department sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general saying that preventing transgender and nonbinary youth from receiving gender-affirming care may be a violation of federal constitutional protections.

Doctors and others would face up to 10 years in prison for violating Alabama law. Trans youth and parents have said Alabama Trying to ban what they think is necessary, and sometimes life-saving care for them.

“The law discriminates against transgender minors by unjustly denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care,” the complaint said. “As a result of SB 184, medical professionals, parents, and minors of sufficient age to make their own medical decisions are forced to choose between forgoing medically necessary procedures and treatments or facing criminal prosecution. goes.”

Alabama Republicans who have supported the law have said it is needed to protect children. “We stand ready to defend our Alabama values ​​and this law,” said Kay Ivey, an Alabama government spokesman.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Friday that “the Biden administration has chosen to prioritize left-wing politics at the expense of Alabama’s children.”

“As we will show in this case, the DOJ’s claim that these treatments are ‘medically necessary’ is ideologically motivated propaganda. Science and common sense are on Alabama’s side. We fight this fight to protect our children.” Will win,” Marshall said in a statement.

State lawyers argued in a preliminary court appearance last week that the science of the remedy is in doubt and thus the state’s role in regulation. Marshall said that “there is increasing evidence that using experimental drugs on vulnerable children with gender dysphoria will cause significant, lifelong harm.” The doctors providing the treatment and the therapy group said the treatments follow accepted standards of evidence-based care.

As the law’s effective date nears, some Alabama parents with trans children say they feel their children are being exploited for political gain, which can already feel unpleasant.

“LGBTQ has always been a part of our community, but we have been eavesdropped and beaten by Bible belts,” said Pamela Northington, the mother of a trans teenage boy.

Telling the kids that they have to wait is only adding years to their struggle, she said. “The emotional state of young people in transition is already in a heightened state due to the fear of being bullied and not accepted. I fear this may be tragic for some of them.”

U.S. District Judge Lilles Burke has set a hearing for May 5 on a request to restrain Alabama officials from enforcing the law while the court’s challenge moves forward.

Sarah Warbello, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign – an LGBTQ advocacy group – said they “encourage the Justice Department to see weight on this law that so severely interferes with the lives of Alabama families.”

Alabama is among several states with Republican-controlled legislatures that have advanced bills regarding transgender youth and LGBTQ issues. The Alabama law is the farthest and the first to criminalize the remedies. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of abuse of gender-affirming care for children. Arkansas also banned gender-affirming drugs, but that law has been blocked from taking effect.

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