Speaker: Representatives divided over trans treatment bill

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Protestors in support of transgender rights rally outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

MONTGOMERY. Ala. (AP) — Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon says representatives are divided over a bill that would ban the use of hormones and puberty-blockers to treat transgender minors.

The Republican legislative leader said Thursday he was uncertain when the bill would get a floor vote.

“I’ve had some discussions with members this week, and members, in some ways are a little divided on the issues,” McCutcheon said.

“So, if it does come to the floor, I’m sure, there will be hearty debate on the issue because there are a lot of questions out there.”

Arkansas lawmakers this week made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, enacting the prohibition over the governor’s objections. Opponents have vowed to challenge it in court.

The Alabama bill would make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty-blockers or hormones or perform surgery to aid in the gender transition of people 18-years-old or younger. The measure cleared the state Senate with no Democratic support and awaits a vote in the House of Representatives, where the GOP leads Democrats 76-27.

Transgender youth, parents and doctors who do the treatments have spoken out against the Alabama bill.

“I want the senators, and the people voting for this, to know I’m not hurting anyone. I just want to be myself. I want them to spend a day with someone like me, to actually get to know them and to learn,” Phineas Smith, 16, told reporters after a rally.

Lawmakers in Alabama and 16 other states have introduced measures targeting health care for transgender youth amid a campaign encouraged by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Heritage Foundation and other groups aligned with the Republican Party. Companion bills would prohibit transgender girls from playing women’s sports at school.

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