The US Department of Justice on Friday challenged a law recently enacted in Alabama that criminalizes certain forms of medically necessary gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Complaint alleges Alabama Senate Bill 184, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this month, violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by discriminating on the basis of gender and status transgender.
The ministry is also asking the court to issue an immediate order to prevent the law from coming into force on May 8.
SB 184 not only punishes parents or legal guardians for making decisions about their children’s health care, but it also threatens criminal prosecution and imprisonment for doctors and other health care providers for offering – or even suggested – medically necessary care for trans youth under the age of 19.
The penalty can be up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The law “discriminates against transgender youth by denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care,” the department said in a news release Friday. “It further discriminates against transgender youth by denying them access to particular procedures while allowing non-transgender minors to access the same or similar procedures.”
Legislation banning medically necessary health care for trans youth has met with opposition from medical professionals and major health organizations in the United States, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, which denounced “these anti-transgender bills,” saying they “promote discrimination and harm students, their families, and their communities.”
Earlier this month, four LGBTQ and civil rights organizations on behalf of Dr. Morissa J. Ladinsky and Dr. Hussein D. Abdul-Latif, providers at Alabama Children’s Hospital, as well as families of two transgender teenagers, the state sued. reverse the measure.
“By signing SB 184, Governor Ivey told the kind, loving, and loyal families of Alabama that they cannot stay here without depriving their children of the basic medical care they need,” said Dr. Ladinsky in a statement shared with the Daily News.
According to Ladinsky, who has expertise in caring for transgender children in the state, Ivey has “undermined the health and well-being of Alabama’s children and put doctors like me in the horrible position of choosing between ignore the medical needs of our patients or risk being sent to prison. »
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Friday’s complaint is the latest action by the Justice Department in an ongoing fight to address discrimination based on gender identity.
It follows a letter to all state attorneys general reminding them that there are constitutional and federal statutory provisions in place to protect transgender youth from discrimination, including when seeking gender-affirming care. .
“[The DOJ] is committed to ensuring that transgender youth, like all youth, are treated fairly and with dignity in accordance with federal law,” reads in part the letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
“This includes ensuring that these young people are not subjected to unlawful discrimination based on their gender identity, including when seeking gender-affirming care,” Clarke wrote.
The letter, released on March 31 — International Transgender Awareness Day — was designed to remind “several important federal constitutional and statutory obligations that flow from these fundamental principles.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, more than 320 anti-LGBTQ bills are currently being considered in state legislatures across the country — an all-time high.
Of these, at least 130 directly affect trans people. Most of them focus on transgender youth, prohibiting children from participating in sports or receiving gender-affirming health care.