A northern Alabama federal judge has been reassigned to a federal lawsuit that hopes to strike down a new law affecting transgender children in Alabama.
The law would make it a crime for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones to facilitate sexual transition.
Two previous lawsuits were withdrawn, but the new lawsuit that was filed Tuesday aims to do the same thing: stop the new law from taking effect and ensure that transgender youth have access to medical treatment.
“If my son hadn’t had access to medical care then, he wouldn’t be alive today,” said Kathie Moehlig.
She is the founder and executive director of Trans Family Support Services. As the mother of a trans boy, she understands the fear some parents and children in Alabama feel after Governor Kay Ivey signed into law Senate Bill 184.
“This idea that this vulnerable youth population has now been thrown under the bus for political purposes is disgusting,” Moehlig said.
The law is due to come into force on May 8.
Parents of trans teens, doctors and even a member of the clergy filed a lawsuit calling the law unconstitutional. They say it impinges on a parent’s right to make medical decisions for their child and prevents doctors and counselors from having meaningful conversations about what might be best for those with gender dysphoria.
“Let’s be clear: All major medical and mental health associations across the country are opposed to this law,” Moehlig said.
However, state Rep. Scott Stadthagen calls for giving teens this kind of treatment for child abuse. He thinks that decision should be made when a person turns 19.
“How are you going to be responsible enough to make a decision that will literally change your life for the rest of your life so young? It just doesn’t make sense to me,” Stadthagen said.
Moehlig argues that treatment is a slow process that comes at the right time.
“Nobody provides medical treatment for young children,” Moehlig said. “No one operates on 12-year-olds.”
She said criminalizing the treatment will not only impact a child’s physical health, but will further harm their mental well-being.
“You know, not only is this treatment for gender dysphoria, it’s suicide prevention,” Moehlig said.
“It’s devastating for our children who are already struggling with things like bullying at school, feeling isolated from the world, and now treatment for their condition has been taken away from them,” she added. “It’s more than harmful.”
Stadthagen said he wants those struggling to get help, but that should be done through therapy and counseling instead.
“I just don’t think it’s appropriate for a kid to change the whole direction of their life at 12 or 13. I just think it’s absurd,” Stadthagen said.
Trans Family Support Services wants the community to know that there are countless people across the country fighting for the right to medical treatment.
Meanwhile, Ivey has previously said state lawmakers are prepared to defend their values and this legislation in court.
This bill is one of two new laws affecting transgender youth. Another law requires students to use restrooms that conform to their birth certificates and prohibits discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through 5th grade.