Justice Department challenges Alabama law criminalizing transgender health care for minors

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging a new Alabama law that criminalizes certain medical care for transgender children, marking the first time the agency has sued a state over restrictions on care claiming the gender.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Alabama, asks the court to block the law from taking effect, arguing that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment “by discriminating on the basis of sex and transgender status”.

The Alabama law “would force parents of transgender minors, medical professionals and others to choose between forgoing medically necessary procedures and treatment or facing criminal prosecution,” the Justice Department said. in a press release.

Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed into law the GOP-backed bill this month, making it a crime for parents and healthcare professionals to ‘engage in or cause’ care gender-affirming medical treatments to minors in the state, including puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery.

In a statement, Ivey said she signed the bill because she believed “if the Good Lord made you a boy, you’re a boy, and if he made you a girl, you’re a girl”.

“We should especially protect our children from these life-altering radical drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in their lives,” she added.

Ivey also signed into law a bill that would ban transgender students from using gender-divided school facilities that match their gender identity.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a Justice Department request for comment on the lawsuit.

The Justice Department complaint comes as Republican-led states enact laws and consider legislation targeting the LGBTQ community, with many politicians seeking to campaign on the issue in the run-up to the 2022 election.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is running for re-election, signed a bill last month banning “classroom discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity” in public schools across the country. ‘State.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division responded to the wave of transgender-focused legislation by sending a letter to all state attorneys general in late March, warning them against enacting measures restricting constitutional and statutory provisions. federal laws that protect transgender youth.

“The intentional erection of discriminatory barriers to prevent individuals from receiving gender-affirming care involves a number of federal legal safeguards,” the agency wrote on March 31. well established within the medical community that gender-affirming care for transgender youth is not only appropriate but often necessary for their physical and mental health.

Last year, the Justice Department issued a similar warning against states enacting laws affecting transgender athletes. He then filed court documents for cases in West Virginia and Arkansas.

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