Alabama has become the latest state to protect young children from the irreversible effects of gender-changing medications and gender-transition surgeries.
State lawmakers approved the legislation 66-29 Thursday that makes it a felony to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to aid in the gender transition of anyone under the age of 19. If convicted, violators could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.
The bill also would prohibit gender transition surgeries in the Yellowhammer State.
Lawmakers approved separate legislation related to public school bathrooms and discussions of gender and sexual identity in early grades.
Alabama state senators voted 26-5 to approve legislation mandating that K-12 students can only use multi-person bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the gender on their original birth certificate, rather than their current gender identity. The bill would also require school counselors, nurses, and others to tell parents if a child discloses they believe they are transgender.
Senate Republicans also added language similar to Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" law that biased media outlets and opponents falsely labeled as the "Don't Say Gay" law.
The measure would "prohibit classroom instruction or discussion on sexual orientation or gender identity" for students in kindergarten through the fifth grade.
"Kids in kindergarten through fifth grade should not be introduced to sexual orientation and gender identity, and if they are it should come from their parents," said state Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R- Hartselle).
Stadthagen said he introduced the bathroom bill after hearing of schools being threatened with lawsuits when they offered to let students use faculty bathrooms.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed both bills into law Friday.
"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 state Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy), sponsor of the House version of the bill.
He compared the legislation to laws that don't allow children to drink, smoke, or get tattoos until they are adults.
State Rep. Chris England (D- Dist. 70) who serves as chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, disagreed, saying the measure targets vulnerable children and tells them they are not welcome in Alabama. "You're saying this is about children. It's not. What it is about is scoring political points," England said.
Arkansas approved a similar law in 2021, but it was put on hold by the courts. Advocacy groups in Alabama have vowed to quickly challenge the measure if Ivey signs it into law.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday the U.S. Department of Justice has warned states such laws and policies may violate the Constitution and federal law.
The issue is already in the courts. As CBN News reported, last August, a federal court in Texas blocked a controversial Biden Transgender Mandate which would force religious doctors and hospitals to perform gender transition procedures on their patients—including children.
The case of Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra was brought by a religious hospital, an association of more than 20,000 healthcare professionals, and nine states, and it is now the second court to block the administration from enforcing the policy.
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