Flickr: Ted Eytan
Flickr: Ted Eytan

The US Department of Justice has filed a motion to block Alabama from enforcing a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth.

Over the last few months, states across America have either implemented or introduced laws targeting healthcare for transgender minors.

As a way to combat the horrific bills, the US Department of Justice sent a letter to all 50 state attorney generals on 31 March. In the document, they warned the state officials of the ramifications of blocking the life-saving medical care.

However, even with a warning from the department, some conservative lawmakers have continued their crusade against trans youth and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

At the start of April, Alabama’s governor Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 184 (SB 184) into law.

Under SB 184, also known as The Vulnerable Child Protection Act, medical professionals could face felony charges for offering gender-affirming care to trans youth under the age of 18 years old.

If a person is found guilty of providing puberty blockers, hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries, the penalty could be $15,000 with up to 10 years in prison.

According to a report from NBC News, the horrific bill makes Alabama the first state to implement felony penalties for giving gender-affirming care to trans minors.

Since signing the legislation, LGBTQ+ activists have slammed Gov. Ivey and the harmful bill. 

On 11 April, four families, two doctors, and a member of the clergy filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation as an “unconstitutional violation of equal protection and free speech rights and an intrusion into parental decisions.” 

Fortunately, on 29 April, the department joined the fight against SB 184 by filing a formal complaint to block the law from taking effect on 8 May.

“The law discriminates against transgender minors by unjustifiably denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care,” the motion said. 

“As a result of SB 184, medical professionals, parents and minors old enough to make their own medical decisions are forced to choose between forgoing medically necessary procedures and treatments or facing criminal prosecution.”

The department’s complaint also accused the Alabama law of violating the constitution’s Fourteenth amendment. 

“SB 184’s felony ban on various forms of medically necessary gender-affirming care for transgender minors discriminates on the basis of both sex and transgender status in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” 

Shortly after the department announced its motion, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, Sarah Warbelow, applauded the move in a statement.

“We are encouraged to see the Department of Justice weigh in on this law that so severely interferes in the lives of Alabama families,” she told The Advocate. 

“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.” 

According to Press Herald, the first scheduled hearing for the aforementioned lawsuit is set to take place on 5 May with US District Judge Liles Burke.