Alabama is the third state to pass a law restricting gender-changing interventions for minors, but the first to impose criminal penalties.
Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement, “We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life.”
The law mandates up to ten years in prison for medical professionals who prescribe puberty blockers or hormone treatments for those under 19 years old.
State Representative Wes Allen, who sponsored the House version of the legislation, said, “We regulate all kinds of things that are harmful for minors — alcohol, cigarette smoke, vaping, tattoos — because their minds aren’t ready to make those decisions about things that can affect them long term.”
He cited the testimony of a woman who regretted taking hormone therapy to transition to being male early in life.
The law will go into effect in 30 days unless challenged, which is expected as two organizations have stated their intent to sue to block the law’s implementation.