MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate passed a bill Thursday that would ban gender therapies such as prescription hormones or gender confirmation surgery for minors.
The legislation would make it a felony for medical providers to prescribe puberty-blockers or hormones to anyone under age 19, or perform gender confirmation surgery on minors.
The bill, sponsored by Trussville Republican Sen. Shay Shelnutt, passed 22-3, news outlets reported. The legislation now moves to the state’s House of Representatives, where a similar bill was also approved by a health committee last month.
Proponents of the measure, including a conservative advocacy group, have said it would stop “vulnerable children” from getting medical procedures and medications with uncertain long-term effects. LGBTQ activists and opponents of the bill have countered that it is discriminatory and spreads misinformation. The American Academy of Pediatrics advised in 2018 that such treatments can be part of certain care models for children.
Shelnutt said Thursday that children who “are not fully developed until later in life” shouldn’t be given “experimental” medications or procedures that could have permanent effects, news outlets reported. Mobile Democratic Sen. Vivian Davis Figures responded by asking how many children in Alabama had undergone such treatments or would be affected. Shelnutt said he didn’t know.
Figures questioned whether lawmakers should restrict healthcare decisions made between parents and children, news outlets said.
It’s unclear when the House will vote on its version of the bill.