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Alabama's ban on transgender treatments for minors challenged in court

( Washington Examiner )

Two physicians and two families from Alabama are taking the state to court over recent legislation restricting transgender treatment for minors, including hormone therapy and puberty blockers.

The plaintiffs argue the bill, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday, violates their constitutional "equal protection and due process" rights by imposing criminal penalties on the treatment options and are calling for the court to enjoin the measure.

“By signing SB 184 Governor Ivey has told kind, loving, and loyal Alabama families that they cannot stay here without denying their children the basic medical care they need,” said Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, one of the plaintiffs. “She has undermined the health and well-being of Alabama children and put doctors like me in the horrifying position of choosing between ignoring the medical needs of our patients or risking being sent to prison.”

The law classifies certain transgender treatments of minors as a felony. Both Ladinsky and fellow plaintiff Dr. Hussein Abdul-Latif treat young patients who are transgender at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama. They could each face up to 10 years in prison if they continue to provide banned transgender treatments to patients, or even suggest patients undergo such treatments, after the law goes into effect May 8.

"The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, enforceable pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, provides that no state shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,'" the lawsuit asserts. "The Act singles out transgender minors and prohibits them from obtaining medically necessary treatment based on their sex and transgender status."

Other states, such as Arkansas, have pursued similar measures, levying restrictions on transgender treatments for minors, but Alabama is the first to impose criminal penalties for violations. Ivey's administration has vowed to defend the law against challenges.

"Here in Alabama, we’re going to go by how God made us: if the Good Lord made you a boy, you’re a boy, and if he made you a girl, you’re a girl. It’s simple," she declared after signing the bill. "Enough of this woke radical nonsense that preys on our kids. We’re going to focus on protecting our kids and keeping our schools focused on being a place where students learn the fundamentals."

Supporters of the bill argue minors are too young to make consequential decisions about undergoing hormone therapy, puberty blockers, or gender transition surgery. The long-term side effects of these treatments are not fully known, and their effects may not be fully reversible, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"It’s about protecting these minors. It’s not about adults. Their minds are not fully developed to make these decisions on these medications and surgeries,” said Republican state Rep. Wes Allen of Troy, who sponsored the Alabama House version of the bill.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court For the Northern District of Alabama's Southern Division and appears to be one of the first challenges against Alabama's new law. The parents of a 17-year-old transgender boy known and a 13-year-old transgender girl in the state, referred to as Doe and Roe, respectively, to protect their identities, have also joined the lawsuit. The Human Rights Campaign, Southern Poverty Law Center, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, and other groups are representing the plaintiffs in court.

In addition to the bill restricting transgender treatments for minors, Ivey also signed a bill mandating students use bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex at birth.

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