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1 Jul, 2022 12:10

First US state seeks to ban gender-affirming treatments for children

Alabama cites recent abortion ruling as it calls to outlaw puberty blockers for minors
First US state seeks to ban gender-affirming treatments for children

The state of Alabama has called on a federal court to uphold a ban on so-called gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender youths, citing a recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed state governments to prohibit abortions.

In a 76-page brief filed with the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall insisted that a previous injunction on the state’s ban of transgender treatments should be overturned, since such care is not protected under the 14th amendment to the US Constitution as it is not “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions.”

“The Legislature determined that transitioning treatments in particular are too risky to authorize, so it is those treatments Plaintiffs must show the Constitution protects,” the brief says. “But no one –adult or child– has a right to transitioning treatments that is deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition.”

The state’s argument closely resembles the reasoning behind the recent US supreme court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which removed federal abortion protections and placed the responsibility for legalizing or banning the procedure on individual states and their citizens.

Supreme Court judges that ruled in favor of overturning the legislation argued that terminating a pregnancy was not a fundamental constitutional right because it was not explicitly mentioned in the US constitution and was not “deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition.” 

In the brief, Marshall goes on to insist that the Constitution reserves to the state, and not courts or medical interest groups, the authority to determine that “sterilizing interventions” are too dangerous for minors, adding that the State has a right to regulate or prohibit such interventions for children “even if an adult wants the drugs for his child.”

The Attorney General also noted that research regarding these “novel interventions” was poor and that they were unproven to offer lasting relief to children suffering from gender-related distress. “What research does exist is already outdated – a remarkable fact given that the seminal study on transitioning children was published less than a decade ago and has not been replicated,” he added.

Marshall also drew attention to the fact that gender-related distress has become “a tsunami” as clinics offering “‘transitioning’ treatments on kids are seeing their patient loads increase by thousands of percent,” noting that the new trend was “troubling.”

In April, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed into law a bill which made it a felony to provide gender-affirming treatments to minors, and sought a 10-year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine for anyone providing puberty blockers, hormones or surgical procedures to transgender youths under the age of 19. 

However that legislation was partially blocked one month later by a federal judge, who dismissed the state GOP leader’s claim that puberty blockers were “experimental,” and insisted that transitioning medications were “well-established, evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors” endorsed by “at least 22 major medical associations.”