By an overwhelming vote of 22-3, the Alabama Senate has passed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (S.B. 219) which prohibits opposite-sex hormones, puberty blockers and transgender surgery for minors.
The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Shay Shelnutt. According to an Alabama news site, Senator Shelnutt advocated for the bill as a way to protect minors.
“I just don’t think that kids should be given experimental drugs or surgeries that could have irreversible consequences for the rest of their life,” Shelnutt said. “Kids are not fully developed until later in life. I think we can all agree that kids aren’t capable of making certain decisions until certain ages. And so, we want to just stop these procedures from happening in Alabama.”
The LGBT activist Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a statement condemning the bill as discriminatory. “This legislation takes that decision away from Alabamians solely so lawmakers can discriminate against transgender people. It is wrong,” HRC said.
However, the bill makes clear that its goal is to protect children from harm and unregulated, untested medical experimentation on minor children. Alabama law defines a minor as anyone who is under 19 years old.
“The long-term effects and safety of the administration of puberty-blocking medications and cross sex hormones to gender incongruent children have not been rigorously studied. Absent rigorous studies showing the long-term safety and positive benefits, their continued administration to children constitutes dangerous and uncontrolled human medical experimentation that may result in grave and irreversible consequences to their physical and mental health,” part of the bill reads.
The bill also reasons that the vast majority of pre-pubescent children who believe they are transgender will revert back to their biological sex after going through puberty, if the watchful waiting approach is taken, where they are not given puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones or transgender surgeries. “Studies have shown that a substantial majority of pre-pubescent children who claim a gender identity different from their biological sex will ultimately identify with their biological sex by young adulthood or sooner when supported through their natural puberty,” the bill contends.
A violation of the new law would constitute a Class C felony which would be punishable with one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 upon conviction.
Earlier this year, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed a similar bill, but it was then defeated in the South Dakota State Senate after an intense lobbying effort by transgender advocates and the mainstream media.
The Alabama bill will now be sent to the Alabama House of Representatives where Republicans hold a 78-23 majority. Governor Kay Ivey is also a Republican.
If S.B. 219 passes the Alabama House of Representatives and is signed by Gov. Ivey, Alabama will become the first state to ban opposite-sex hormones, puberty blockers and transgender surgery for minors.
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