Groups threaten lawsuit over Alabama transgender youth medical legislation

State / Regional

Law could send doctors to prison for treating transgender youth

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. (WKRG) – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama, Lambda Legal, and Cooley LLP announced Wednesday plans to file a legal challenge to proposed legislation in Alabama that, as currently written, would criminalize medical professionals who provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth with up to 10 years in prison. The groups claim the bills are an effort to block potentially lifesaving health care for transgender young people.

With the legislative session soon coming to a close, SB10 is one of several bills the House is still considering. It and two pending companion bills would criminalize doctors or medical professionals who provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth under 19 years, carrying severe criminal penalties that could result in fines and even prison time. The ACLU claims the bills as drafted are also so broad that they can be read to include criminal penalties for parents and guardians who support transgender young people.

“The Alabama Legislature has been down this road before, wasting taxpayer time and money to pass unconstitutional bills that they know will get taken to court,” said Kaitlin Welborn, staff attorney for the ACLU of Alabama. “This year seems to be no different,”

“If Alabama lawmakers insist on passing this cruel, dangerous, and unconstitutional legislation into law, the state will immediately have a lawsuit to deal with,” added Carl Charles, staff attorney for Lambda Legal.

Gov. Kay Ivey has already signed into law a bill that prohibits transgender students from playing high school sports.

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