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Alabama’s law banning treatments for transgender teens goes into effect


A federal judge may still block Alabama’s new transgender medications law, even though it’s already in effect. The statute quietly took effect on Sunday. U.S. District Judge Liles Burke cautioned attorneys on Friday that he might not decide on a preliminary injunction before the law was enacted. The measure makes it a felony to prescribe or administer puberty blockers and hormones to underage transgender young people to help affirm their new gender identity.

As APR previously reported, the US Department of Justice recently issued a challenge to Alabama’s ban on hormone therapy and puberty blockers for minors. The agency argues that the law discriminates against transgender minors. The CDC has found that transgender teens are at a greater risk for suicide. There is ongoing debate about the risks of hormone therapy for minors. Some of the effects of hormone therapy are reversible if an individual decides to stop treatment. Mike Lewis is the Communications Director at the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. He said the state won’t bend to federal pressure.

“In 2016, the Obama administration denied medicare coverage for transition surgery for adults because the evidence used to support the treatments was so poor," he said. "Remarkably, the Biden administration threatened Alabama for agreeing that these treatments should not be available to kids either. Alabama refused to back down.”

Senate Bill 184, the official name of the ban, makes it a felony for any doctor or parent to assist a minor in seeking treatment. Those who violate the law would face up to 10 years in prison. The DOJ argues that this forces doctors, parents and children to choose between their health and criminal prosecution.

Lewis argues that hormone therapy and puberty blockers have negative effects.

“While healthcare authorities across the globe are responding to the growing body of evidence that using experimental drugs on vulnerable children suffering from gender dysphoria will lead to significant lifelong harm, the Biden administration has chosen to prioritize leftist politics at the expense of Alabama’s children,” he said.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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