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DOJ Challenges Alabama’s Cruel Ban on Medical Care for Trans Children

A protest against bills targeting transgender children, which are springing up across the country. (Universal Images Group via Getty/Michael Siluk/UCG)

The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s cruel ban on medical care for trans children.

The lawsuit is “the Justice Department’s latest action to address discrimination based on gender identity, including unlawful restrictions on medical care for transgender youth”, after the department released a letter on Transgender Visibility Day (March 31) to attorneys general across the country regarding the growing number of anti-trans bills.

The department has warned states that laws that prevent parents and supportive guardians from helping their trans children access “medically necessary or otherwise appropriate care” may violate “rights protected both by equal protection clauses and Due Process of the Fourteenth Amendment”.

But Alabama ignored that warning.

SB 184 passed the state House in early April and just a day later was signed into law by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.

The legislation, should come into force on May 8, makes Alabama the first U.S. state to impose felony criminal penalties on people who “engage in or cause” gender-affirming health care — including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or gender-affirming surgeries gender – for trans youth.

Anyone found guilty under the law, which could impact anyone, including medical professionals and parents, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

On Friday, April 29, the Department of Justice filed a complaint challenging the law, stating that it “denies necessary medical care to children based solely on who they are”.

The complaint alleges that SB 184 “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” by “discriminating on the basis of sex and transgender status.”

The bill, according to the Justice Department, “discriminates against transgender youth by denying them access to particular procedures while allowing non-transgender minors access to the same or similar procedures.”

For example, the complaint states: “SB 184 permits a physician…to prescribe testosterone for a male cisgender minor suffering from delayed pubertal development or a condition such as hypogonadism, but the law establishes it is a crime for the same doctor to prescribe the same testosterone to a young transgender man to affirm his gender identity.

Two doctors and two families of trans children have already filed a lawsuit against Alabama over the legislation.

The families said in the complaint, filed April 11, that being denied medically necessary treatment will have devastating effects on the mental health of their children. Lawsuit alleges new Alabama law violates affordable care law and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.

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