BIRMINGHAM — Four Alabama parents are asking a U.S. District Court in Alabama to stop SB 184 from taking effect on May 8, saying the law strips them of the right to make important health decisions of their children.
SB 184 punishes parents and their children’s doctors for providing — or even suggesting — well-established essential medical care for their transgender children. The penalty can be up to 10 years in prison.
The new legal challenge, Rev. Eknes-Tucker v. Ivey was filed in the United States District Court for the Intermediate District of Alabama – North Division. Because the plaintiffs face criminal penalties and a dangerous loss of necessary medical care for their children under SB 184, they will ask the court to block the law from taking effect while their lawsuit against it continues. .
Joining four Alabama parents in their challenge to SB 184 are a private practice pediatrician in rural Southeast Alabama, a clinical psychologist with the UAB Medical System, and the Reverend Paul Eknes-Tucker, senior pastor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Birmingham.
Families asking the court to block the law come from across the state and are proceeding anonymously due to the risk of criminal prosecution under SB 184. They are Brianna Boe and her 12-year-old transgender son, Michel Boe of Montgomery; JAmes Zoe and her 13-year-old transgender son Zachary Zoe from Birmingham; Megan Poe and her 15-year-old transgender daughter Allison Poe from northern Alabama; and Kathy Noe and her 17-year-old transgender son Christopher Noah from eastern Alabama.
Both care providers are also proceeding anonymously due to the risk of criminal prosecution.
“As Minister, I advise parents of transgender children on how best to love and support their children. Under SB 184, these conversations now come with the risk of criminal prosecution,” said Rev. Paul Eknes-Tucker, who has served as senior pastor at the historic Pilgrim Church UCC since 2015. “This dangerous law is an unthinkable violation of parental rights and the freedom of pastors and other religious leaders to counsel their This law is destructive not only to families in Alabama, but also to the freedoms and values that Alabamians hold dear.
“I know people who don’t have a transgender child may not understand my experience. I have done everything I can to find out what my daughter is going through, and being able to seek advice from our pediatrician and medical specialists has been a turning point for our family,” said Megan Poe, 15 year old mother Allison from northern Alabama. “With this support and care, Allison has grown into a confident and social teenager who is thriving in school. Without it, I’m afraid she’ll become withdrawn again, depressed, or worse. I only want the best for my daughter, like any parent. For the state to deprive me of my ability to provide this essential care and support is unthinkable.
“Our family is challenging this cruel law because it undermines our ability as parents to ensure our child receives proper medical care and targets transgender youth simply because they are transgender,” said James Zoe, 13 year old father Zechariah from Birmingham. “We have a choice to leave our home state of Alabama or stay and fight. We chose to fight for our child and for all transgender children in Alabama. Ultimately, we believe this unjust law will be overturned and we can continue to provide our child with the medical care he needs.
“Parents come to me for reliable medical advice, but under SB 184, I and parents who consult me are subject to jail time for even discussing the best recommendations to support their children’s health.” , said Dr Rachel Koe, a pediatrician in private practice in rural Southeast Alabama. “SB 184 criminalizes effective and established medical treatment that is recognized as the standard of care in the medical field, including by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the .”
The complainants in Rev. Eknes-Tucker v. Ivey are represented by Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC, King & Spalding LLP, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) .
“Parents who challenge this law, like all parents, want the best for their children, but SB 184 punishes them for it. This is a dangerous law that undermines parents’ ability to Alabama to make the best health care decisions for their family,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director.
“Allowing SB 184 to go into effect will cause tremendous stress and damage to Alabama families. A state should not criminalize parents and physicians for following medical guidelines and providing necessary medical treatment.aid NCLR Senior Advocate and Transgender Youth Project Director Asaf Orr.
“SB 184 fails to consider the well-being of transgender youth in Alabama and does not respect the rights of parents who, under this law, are not permitted to seek the best possible care for their children,” said Scott McCoy, acting deputy general counsel for the SPLC LGBTQ Rights and Special Litigation.
“These caregivers and families want nothing more than to do what’s best for their children, but SB 184 is threatening them with criminal penalties for providing critically important care that is often vital for transgender young people,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the HRC.