Marshall’s support for Arkansas law banning transgender youth care is wrong

The Alabama ACLU on Thursday called Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall for bringing Alabama to a lawsuit challenging an Arkansas law against the medical treatment of transgender minors.

The Arkansas ACLU filed a lawsuit in May to block the state’s “Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act,” which passed in April and prohibits transgender youth from gender-affirming treatment.

Arkansas law is similar to a bill introduced in Alabama’s last legislative session by Republican Senator Shay Shelnutt, which allegedly criminalized doctors who provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth and would require school counselors to report cases of ‘gender dysphoria’.

Shelnutt’s bill passed the House but ran out of time in the Senate before the session ended. Shellnut pre-tabled the bill for the 2022 legislative session.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama, and New York-based law firm Lambda Legal all warned Alabama lawmakers in April that if Shellnut’s bill passes, groups would quickly sue to block it, calling the bill unconstitutional and deadly for transgender youth. care, which often becomes suicidal without support.

“We are tabling this brief because, like Arkansas, we are concerned about the upsurge in recent years of children with gender dysphoria and other forms of gender-related psychological distress,” Marshall said in a statement. “Like Arkansas – and like those who challenge the SAFE Act – we are concerned that these vulnerable children are in great pain and in need of help. The vital questions are how to help them and how to avoid serious irreversible damage. ”

Marshall led a group of 17 states, all with Republican attorneys general, on a case in favor of Arkansas in this lawsuit. The record alleges medical research does not support the use of puberty blockers for transgender youth, a claim that doctors treating them were disrupted during debates over the Alabama bill during the last session.

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“It may be a strange thing for a group of states to say in response to a group of medical professionals, but it is true,” Marshall wrote on the record.

Doctors who treat transgender youth, their parents and transgender youth themselves spoke out against Shellnut’s bill in the last legislative session, explaining that the bill, if passed, would expose these young people at an increased risk of suicide.

Doctors said that despite claims by Republican supporters of the bill, transgender youth in Alabama never have sex reassignment surgery because it is prohibited by federal law. Doctors also said medical research shows that the puberty blocking drugs used by some transgender teens are reversible, despite claims by supporters of the bill that they are not.

“As the people of Alabama need our government to focus on things like what’s going on in our state prisons, Attorney General Marshall is attacking trans youth in another state,” JaTaune Bosby said, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, in a message to APR.

“In Arkansas, Alabama and everywhere else, trans kids know who they are and politicians shouldn’t stand between a kid, his parents and his doctor. Gender-affirming care is life-saving care, and the courts have agreed that denying someone care just because they are transgender is against the law, ”said Bosby.

Marshall’s involvement in the Arkansas case pits Alabama against the US Department of Justice, which has filed expressions of interest in the Arkansas cases and one in Virginia over a law prohibiting transgender youth from playing sports of the gender with which they identify.

The DOJ in the Arkansas case says the law denies people access to medical care on the basis of their gender, and it violates the equal protection clause, according to Metro Weekly.

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“[The ban on trans health care] cannot survive scrutiny because the state’s articulated goals are just pretext justifications devoid of any scientific or factual basis, ”the DOJ writes in the dossier. “The law, which prohibits widely accepted treatment protocols, would deny transgender minors medically necessary care solely on the basis of their sex assigned at birth and their transgender status. If the State truly intended to protect “vulnerable” minors, it would not fit into the doctor-patient relationship in order to deprive these minors of the necessary and appropriate care.

The Alabama lawmaker last session approved a ban on transgender athletes from participating in sports of the kind they identify with.

A growing roster of NCAA and WNBA players and coaches oppose these transgender sports laws.

Gov. Kay Ivey, running for reelection, enacted the bill in April and released a political ad in June that read “Kay Ivey, Against Trans Athletes.”

“Now, here in Alabama, the boys play boys ‘sports and the girls play girls’ sports,” Ivey said in the ad.

As’s Joseph Goodman noted in a column on Ivey’s announcement, this is not correct.

“Last fall I coached a boys and girls U-13 soccer team and nobody said anything about it. So it’s not about that, ”Goodman wrote.

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