By KIM CHANDLER – Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two families of transgender teenagers and two doctors sued the state of Alabama on Monday to overturn a law that makes it a crime for doctors to treat trans teens under the age of 19 with puberty blockers or hormones to induce their Gender to confirm identity.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court three days after Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the measure into law.
“By signing SB 184, Governor Ivey has communicated to kind, loving, and loyal families in Alabama that they cannot remain here without denying their children the basic medical care they need,” said Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, one of the plaintiffs, in a statement. “It has undermined the health and well-being of children in Alabama and has left doctors like me in the horrible position of having to choose between ignoring the medical needs of our patients or risking jail time.”
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The parents of a 13-year-old transgender girl in Jefferson County and a 17-year-old transgender boy in Shelby County are joining the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are known in court records as Roe and Doe to protect the children’s identities.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, a national advocacy group for the LGBTQ community, and other groups are representing the plaintiffs. The Law Center announced the lawsuit in a press release.
Alabama law, which goes into effect May 8 unless blocked by the court, makes it a criminal offense for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to help people under the age of 19 transition genders more easily. Violations are punished with up to 10 years in prison. It also bans sex reassignment surgeries, although doctors told lawmakers these are not generally performed on minors.
Ivey signed the law into law Friday, a day after it was approved by the Alabama Legislature.
“I am a firm believer that if the Lord made you a boy you are a boy and if he made you a girl then you are a girl,” said Ivey, who is starring ahead of a May primary conservative opponents trying to outflank their rights. “We should be especially protective of our children from these radical, life-changing drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage of life. Instead, let us all focus on helping them grow properly into the adults God intended them to be.”
When asked for a response to the law, Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola replied, “We stand ready to defend our values and this law.”
Similar measures have been pushed in other states, but the Alabama legislature is the first to prosecute doctors.
In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the state’s Child Protection Agency to investigate reports of gender-biased child abuse. And a law in Arkansas bans gender-affirming drugs. However, this law was blocked by a court.
Ivey also signed a separate measure that requires students to use bathrooms matching their original birth certificates and that bans teaching about gender and sexual identity in kindergarten through fifth grade.
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