Under a bill approved by the Alabama Senate, transgender youth in Alabama would not be able to be treated with puberty-blockers, hormone treatment or surgery.
The state Senate voted to make the treatment a felony on Tuesday as parents and transgender rights protesters rallied outside the Alabama State House in oppositon.
Senators voted 23-4 to approve the measure sponsored by Republican Senator Shay Shelnutt.
The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives, which has already approved an amost identical bill.
Yahoo news reports: The two bills would make it 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.
The bill also requires school staff in the state to disclose to parents that “a minor’s perception that his or her gender is inconsistent with his or her sex.” Essentially, teachers would be required to “out” transgender students to their guardians — regardless of whether they are ready to do so.
“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.”
While similar measures have been considered across the country, Alabama would be the first state to pass such a bill. Parents, members of the transgender communities and medical experts opposed to the bills say it is dangerous, and that lawmakers do not understand the already difficult process to receive gender-affirming care.
The bills run “counter to medical science, prevailing standards of treatment for transgender youth, and basic human dignity,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said in a statement.
During Tuesday’s debate, Shelnutt said that he has never spoken to a transgender youth before, adding that he did not know that such treatments were being done in the state when he introduced the bill last year, AP reports.