MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama’s law criminalizing medical treatments for transgender youth is days away from taking effect, but legal efforts are underway to stop its enforcement while the courts take a closer look.
The U.S. Department of Justice is the latest to intervene in the issue, arguing in a complaint filed Friday that the law violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
U.S. District Judge Liles Burke will hear arguments Thursday to potentially stop the law’s enforcement as challenges move forward. Currently, the law is set to take effect May 8.
State Representative Wes Allen, R- Troy, cosponsored the law and says he’s optimistic it will stay on the books.
“It was lawfully passed by duly elected Representatives and Senators in the state of Alabama. I feel like the courts will get it right, and this law that aims to protect children will be upheld,” Allen said.
The Human Rights Campaign’s Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement the group is encouraged to see the DOJ weigh in, adding: “Parents want to do what’s best for their children, but SB 184 strips some Alabama parents of that ability by imposing criminal penalties for providing critically important and established medical care for their transgender children.”
Doctors who violate the law by prescribing puberty blockers or treatments that alter gender appearance for those under 19 could face up to 10 years in prison.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says the DOJ’s intervention is based on “ideologically-driven disinformation,” adding: “The science and common sense are on Alabama’s side. We will win this fight to protect our children.”
Arkansas has passed similar legislation, but that law so far has been blocked by the courts.