AL Passes Bill Making it a Felony for Transgender Youth to Access Health Care

April 7, 2022 • 5:07 pm

MONTGOMERY – Today Alabama became the latest of a number of state legislatures to pass sweeping bills that roll back protections for LGBTQ people, and which particularly attack the basic rights of transgender youth.

The bills were pushed through at the last minute, on the last day before the legislature will adjourn this year’s session. SB 184 makes it a felony for doctors or parents to provide standard best-practice medical care for transgender youth up to age 19. The penalty for providing such care can include up to 10 years in prison. It heads straight to the governor, who has 10 days to sign it once it hits her desk or the bill is automatically vetoed. If it becomes law, it will be the nation’s most extreme ban on best practice healthcare for transgender youth.

The amended HB 322 is not yet on its way to the Governor – it passed the Senate today but requires a formal House vote to concur before it heads to the governor. The bill as amended applies to public schools and bans transgender people – both students and employees – from being able to access restrooms and facilities that align with their gender. A last-minute amendment adopted today further prevents any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity in school classrooms for grades K-12.

Kasey Suffredini, CEO and national campaign director of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement in response:

“The bills passed in Alabama today – like similar bills advancing around the country – are a cruel intrusion on the ability of parents, doctors, teachers, and other providers to give the care and support to transgender youth that all young people should have. To threaten a doctor or parent with prison time simply for doing their job seems unfathomable, but lawmakers today indicated they want it to be reality for real people in Alabama. All young people deserve compassion and love. Although the discussion around what it means to be transgender may seem new on the national level, transgender children are not a new phenomenon. Transgender youth are our friends, family members, and neighbors; and none of our nation’s children, including transgender youth, should be prohibited from equal opportunity in school or at the doctor’s office just because of who they are. We urge lawmakers elsewhere to do better to understand the harms of these types of bills and to reject them as the bad policies that they are.”

Alabama is the second state to pass a total ban on best practice medical care for transgender youth, following Arkansas last year. Governor Ivey would become the first and only Governor to sign a total ban on affirming healthcare for transgender youth- Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison vetoed similar legislation that was subsequently overridden by the legislature. More narrow bans on healthcare for transgender youth have also been passed in Arizona and Tennessee. Legal groups have either filed or vowed to file court challenges to the bans in at least three of these four states so far. Alabama’s SB 184 is a template bill identical to bills introduced in South Carolina and Arizona; and similar to bills that were introduced in Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

In total, Freedom for Al Americans has tracked 19 anti-LGBTQ bills that have been sent to governors’ desks in 14 states. Republican and Democratic governors in Utah, Indiana, and Kentucky vetoed anti-LGBTQ bills so far this year. Ten bills have either been signed or are expected to be signed into law.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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