May 1 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a complaint challenging a new Alabama law that criminalizes gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, citing the 14th Amendment.
Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 184 into law earlier this month, which criminalizes hormone therapy or puberty blocking medication or surgeries that affirm the gender identity of transgender minors.
A violation of the new law is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fine of up to $15,000.
The Justice Department alleges in the complaint that this state ban discriminates against transgender youth by denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protect Clause.
The state law, set to take effect on May 8, also requires school nurses, counselors, teachers and principals not to “withhold from the minor’s parent or legal guardian information related to a minor’s perception that his or her gender or sex is inconsistent with his or her sex.”
Senate Bill 184 “denies necessary medical care to children based solely on who they are,” and “threatens criminal prosecution and jail time to doctors, parents, and anyone else who provides or ’causes’ that care,” according to the Justice Department’s statement.
The Justice Department called for the court to issue an immediate order to prevent the law from going into effect.
Late last month, the Justice Department also issued a letter to all state attorneys reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination.
Parents of four transgendered children in Alabama, joined by two doctors and a reverend, recently asked a federal judge to overturn the law before it goes into effect next month.
In the lawsuit filed earlier this month, the plaintiffs said that the law should be overturned because it unconstitutionally denies parents the right to make decisions for their children, and discriminates against children for being transgender.