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Alabama is making it a felony to treat transgender youth with puberty-blockers, hormone therapy or surgery.

The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act was passed on a 23-4 Senate vote.

Under the bill SB10, it would be a felony for medical professionals to treat transgender minors under the age of 19 with gender-affirming care. Violators could face up to 10 years in prison or a $15,000 fine. 

“This bill 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 appearance of the minor child’s gender or delay puberty, with certain exceptions,” the bill said.

The bill would also require school staff to inform parents if a minor’s gender perception is inconsistent with their sex. 

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Senator Shay Shelnutt, the sponsor for the bill, claimed that the bill comes in the best interest of the youth.

“Children aren’t mature enough to make these decisions on surgeries and drugs,” Shelnutt told The Associated Press

“The whole point is to protect kids.”

Some parents, transgender youth and medical experts have opposed the bill.

“This bill masquerades under a save the children umbrella, but the truth is that children who are not gender-conforming, this won’t save them — this is going to endanger them,” Gerry Paige Smith, the parent of a transgender son, told AP.

Dr. Morissa Ladinsky said that genital surgery is never performed on transgender youth. Receiving puberty blockers and hormonal therapy only comes after an extensive process.

Sen. Billy Beasley, a pharmacist, opposed the bill. Beasley said he could be imprisoned for filling a prescription for puberty blockers or hormones. 

“This bill needs to go away,” Beasley said.

Sen. Bobby Singleton said these decisions should fall on the family.

“We are infringing on the ability of families to make that decision,” Singleton said.

Shelnutt rebutted by citing laws around smoking and drinking based on age.

Republican Sen. Tom Whatley proposed an amendment to the bill that would provide transgender youth with counseling.

Shelnutt was not opposed to children receiving counseling but he was opposed to anything that reaffirms a gender identity that does not match the child’s sex at birth.

“We don’t want them affirming that, ’Hey yeah, you’re right, you should be a boy if you are a born a female,’” Shelnutt said.

Written ByLinn Win

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