The Alabama Senate has made a decision to veto controversial gender reassignment treatments for minors after passing a bill that prevents puberty-blocking procedures, hormone treatments, or surgeries.
As the National File noted, by a vote of 23-4 the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act passed and anyone who violates the regulations could face a 10-year prison sentence as well as a $15,000 fine.
“Children aren’t mature enough to make these decisions on surgeries and drugs,” said Republican state Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Ala.), who was the main sponsor of the bill.
Shelnutt, who welcomed the passage of the legislation, said there were better methods of treating gender dysphoria such as counseling, although he stressed that he was not referring to counseling based on gender identity. “The whole point is to protect kids,” he added.
The bill further requires school personnel in the state to advise the parents about “a minor’s perception that his or her gender is inconsistent with his or her sex.”
Meanwhile, the Alabama House is contemplating a vote on a similar bill that is currently in committee stages.
Health professionals who supported passage of the bill stated that the gender dysphoria affecting children generally goes away as they grow older and that it was therefore better to reinforce their identity with their biological sex.
While Alabama is the first state to implement such a bill, other states have considered banning gender reassignment treatments for minors; currently seven states have introduced similar bills.
As state Florida Rep. Anthony Sabatini told the National File, a similar bill recently introduced prevents transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports. The bill also seeks to criminalize such participation.
According to The Hill, more than half of the states are discussing bills to limit access to medical or sports care for transgender people.
As the Alabama Senate voted to advance the bill, several protesters gathered outside the House in Montgomery to pressure state lawmakers not to pass the bill, according to the The Hill.