A bill to prohibit doctors from performing transgender medical treatments on minor-aged children moved ahead in two committees of the Alabama Legislature on Wednesday, bringing it another step closer to becoming law.
Introduced last week, the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, which is sponsored by Republican state lawmakers Rep. Wes Allen and Sen. Shay Shelnutt, would "prohibit the performance of a medical procedure or the prescription or issuance of medication, upon or to a minor child, that is intended to alter the minor child's gender or delay puberty" and would make doing so a class C felony under state law. It does, however, make exception in the case of procedures "undertaken to treat a minor born with a medically verifiable disorder of sex development."
According to a story at AL.com, the bill is now ready to be considered and voted on in both of the state's legislative chambers:
The Alabama House Health Committee approved Allen's bill [Wednesday] morning after 10 people spoke at a public hearing on the measure, five in favor and five against. They included medical professionals on both sides and people with first-hand experiences on both sides. The committee approval moves the bill in line for consideration by the full House.
Several Democratic lawmakers on the committee opposed the bill, which was approved on a voice vote.
The Senate Health Committee followed with a public hearing on Shelnutt's bill that included some of the same speakers and some different speakers. Both hearings drew overflow crowds. The Senate Health Committee approved Shelnutt's bill on a 10-1 vote, sending it to the full Senate.
The findings section of the bill says, "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," and adds, "The continued performing of these therapies upon children constitutes a public health risk."
"These patients are children who have not reached physical or mental maturity," Allen said in announcing the bill last week, according to the Yellowhammer News. "It is irresponsible to permanently mutilate them at their request or at the request of their parents. We don't allow minors to enter into contracts, buy alcohol or get a credit card because they aren't capable of making those decisions and we should not allow them to do this either."
And, naturally, transgender advocates are opposed to the measure. In a statement opposing the bill, Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director Carmarion D. Anderson criticized "anti-trans legislators" for "targeting transgender and non-binary youth, spreading misinformation and using vicious, harmful rhetoric to advance an extremist agenda," the Associated Press reported.