EXPLAINER: What do new Alabama laws say on transgender kids?

Apr 11, 2022, 10:12 PM | Updated: 10:31 pm
FILE - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey waves as she arrives to deliver her State of the State address at the ...

FILE - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey waves as she arrives to deliver her State of the State address at the State Capitol Building in Montgomery, Ala., Jan. 11, 2022. Two families with transgender teens and two physicians have sued the state of Alabama to block a law that makes it a crime for doctors to treat trans youth under 19 with puberty blockers or hormones to help affirm their gender identity. The suit was filed Monday, April 11, 2022 in federal court. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

(Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has become the first state to criminalize the use of puberty blockers and hormones to treat transgender people under age 19. In line with some other Republican-led states, legislators here also passed a law requiring students to use bathrooms corresponding to their sex at birth and prohibiting discussion of gender and sexual identity in the lower grades. Critics have derided the limitation on such discussions as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The two GOP bills were signed into law Friday by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, a day after being passed by the Alabama Legislature. Advocacy groups quickly filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the medication ban.

Republicans argue the bills are needed to protect children and that decisions on gender-affirming medications should wait until adulthood. Critics say the politicians are interfering with medical decisions that belong with families and their doctors. Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, a national advocacy group for the LGBTQ community, called the two pieces of legislation “the single most anti-transgender legislative package in history.”

WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT BAN DO?

Titled the “Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act,” the law makes it a crime to prescribe or administer to anyone under 19 puberty blockers or hormone treatment “for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of or affirm the minor’s perception of his or her gender or sex.”

Legislators made it a Class C felony to violate the law, meaning doctors who prescribe or administer such medication would be subject to up to 10 years in prison.

The law, which takes effect on May 8 unless blocked by the courts, also bans surgeries for the purpose of altering gender appearance, but doctors say those are generally not performed on minors.

Alabama’s legislation goes further than measures passed in other states. Arkansas was the first state to pass a ban on gender-affirming drugs, but its measure did not include criminal penalties. The Arkansas law was blocked by a federal judge before it could go into effect. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate as child abuse reports of youth receiving such care.

WHAT ARE THE CRITICISMS?

Doctors, families and advocacy organizations say politicians are inserting themselves into decisions that belong with families and medical teams. The measures have prompted swift backlash from medical experts, Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration, the U.S. Department of Justice and the families of trans youth. Doctors say the Alabama law is contrary to peer-reviewed research and applies a criminal label to standard medical care. Health experts also say that minors with gender dysphoria who do not receive appropriate medical care face dramatically increased risk of suicide and serious depression.

DOES THE LAW DO ANYTHING ELSE?

Yes. The law requires counselors, teachers, principals and other administrators — in both public and private schools — to tell parents if a child discloses that they think they may be transgender. It also prohibits school staff from encouraging students to withhold the information from their parents.

WHAT DOES THE BATHROOM/ “DON’T SAY GAY” LAW DO?

The second piece of legislation signed by Ivey involves public school bathroom use and classroom instruction.

The law requires students in grades K-12 to use multi-person bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex at birth rather than their gender identity. It also prohibits teachers and others who provide lessons to grades K-5 from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

Critics have labeled a similar measure passed in Florida that applies to grades K-3 the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Opponents of the medication ban who filed the lawsuit are hoping a judge will grant their request to block it. A legal challenge is also expected to be filed against the bathroom and classroom-instruction measures.

The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to states warning that efforts to block transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming care may be violating federal law and the constitutional protections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Chinese envoy expresses concern over US tariffs with Yellen

BEIJING (AP) — China’s envoy to trade war talks with Washington expressed concern about U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports during a phone call Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the Ministry of Commerce announced, but it gave no indication of progress toward resolving an array of conflicts. Vice Premier Liu He and Yellen also discussed […]
24 hours ago
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index ...
Associated Press

Asia shares rise on optimism about easing COVID restrictions

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares advanced Monday across the board as buying set in after the lull of a U.S. national holiday. Analysts said the optimism may be driven by expectations the U.S. may decide to cut Chinese tariffs, a welcome move that would also help tame inflation. China’s Commerce Ministry said Tuesday that Vice […]
24 hours ago
A man paddles on a stand-up paddle board through a flooded street at Windsor on the outskirts of Sy...
Associated Press

Australian central bank boosts rate for 3rd month in a row

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s central bank on Tuesday lifted its benchmark interest rate for a third time in three straight months, changing the cash rate to 1.35% from 0.85%. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s half a percentage point rise was the same size as its June increase. When the bank lifted the rate by […]
24 hours ago
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index ...
Associated Press

Asia shares rise on optimism about easing COVID restrictions

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares advanced Monday across the board as buying set in after the lull of a U.S. national holiday. Analysts said the optimism may be driven by expectations the U.S. may decide to cut Chinese tariffs, a welcome move that would also help tame inflation. China’s Commerce Ministry said Tuesday that Vice […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaks in Leavenworth, Kan., on July 8, 2019. K...
Associated Press

Kobach looks for comeback in Kansas after losing 2 big races

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voters have said no to him twice over the past four years. But Kris Kobach is nonetheless betting that this can be the year he makes a political comeback. His losses, including a 2018 defeat that handed the governor’s office in this Republican-leaning state to a Democrat, might end other […]
24 hours ago
Republican gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Brian Dahle, left, talks with fellow GOP state Sen. A...
Associated Press

Newsom’s opponent: I’m reasonable, not a ‘crazy Republican’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Brian Dahle, the Republican Party’s longshot hope to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in California, knows that to win in his progressive home state he can’t allow Democrats to label him as an election denying, abortion-hating, gun-loving, bombastic right-winger. It’s why Dahle, an affable farmer and state senator from the sparsely populated […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
EXPLAINER: What do new Alabama laws say on transgender kids?