An Alabama law went into effect on May 8 barring gender-affirming care for trans youth and threatening doctors with up to a decade behind bars if they violate the measure.
The law — signed last month by Governor Kay Ivey — stipulates that doctors cannot offer puberty blockers, hormone treatment, or medical procedures for trans individuals under the age of 19. It also directs schools to inform parents or guardians when students identify with a gender that they were not assigned at birth.
A federal judge vowed to issue a ruling on the measure in the coming days. When a similar law passed in Arkansas last year, a federal judge stepped into block it — but that has yet to happen in Alabama.
“This is a complicated case that raises complex and important issues and consists of many hundreds of pages of briefing and exhibits,” wrote US District Judge Liles Burke, according to AL.com. “The Court has made very substantial progress toward crafting an opinion in this matter and expects to file the opinion by the end of this week, if not sooner.”
A lawsuit against the measure has been filed by parents of trans youth who say the law is in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, and the US Justice Department has signed onto the case in opposition to the law. A 15-year-old girl named HW, who is part of one of the families suing the state, issued a written statement through the ACLU after the lawsuit was filed last month prior to the law’s enactment.
“I know that I am a girl and I always have been,” HW said. “Even before I learned the word ‘transgender’ or met other trans people, I knew myself. I did not choose to experience bullying and discrimination because I am transgender. I chose to be proud of who I am. The possibility of losing access to my medical care because of this law causes me deep anxiety. I would not feel like myself anymore if this lifesaving medication was criminalized.”
The state is the latest to impose restrictive state-based measures targeting transgender youth. Numerous states have passed laws barring trans youth from playing in sports in accordance with their gender identity or accessing gender-affirming care. Some State Legislatures are also going after bathroom rights and working to restrict trans and non-binary individuals from being able to correct legal documents to accurately reflect their identities.