Alabama Senate approves ban on transgender treatments for minors

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The Alabama Senate voted 23-4 to approve a bill that would make it a felony to give hormone treatments or puberty blockers or perform transgender surgical procedures on anyone under 19 years of age, with legislators arguing that children are not old enough to make such a serious and life-altering choice.

 

Quick Facts

 

 

The bill, known as the “Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act,” was sponsored by Rep. Shay Shelnutt, R, who said, “Children aren’t mature enough to make these decisions on surgeries and drugs. The whole point is to protect kids.”

 

Critics claim that it is the legislators who do not understand these complex decisions. “This bill masquerades under a ‘save the children’ umbrella, but the truth is that children who are not gender-conforming, this won’t save them — this is going to endanger them,” said Gerry Paige Smith, the parent of a transgender child.

 

Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey, state director of the Human Rights Campaign Alabama, said,

 

“Today’s votes are deeply discouraging, especially given that legislators have heard compelling testimony from transgender students and people who love them sharing their heartfelt stories about the importance of inclusion. These bills do not solve a problem because no problem exists, here in Alabama or anywhere in this country. Every transgender child deserves access to medically-necessary, best practice care and the vast majority of people agree. No transgender student athlete is trying to game the system — they simply want to be able to participate and be included.”

 

Dillon Nettles, director of policy and advocacy for the ALCU of Alabama, said,

 

“We are disappointed that Alabama lawmakers have once again set out to take away the healthcare choices of everyday Alabamians, and just like the abortion ban in 2019, this anti-trans bill is unconstitutional. If HB1 or SB10 pass and is signed by the governor, it could represent another costly lawsuit for the state. Lawmakers have enough on their hands with COVID-19 and the DOJ lawsuit over Alabama’s prisons that the last thing they should be wasting taxpayer money on is involving themselves in a medical issue that they have no expertise or training on.”

 

Republican David Faulkner disagreed, saying,

 

“Front and center was the love and thoughts for these children that are dealing with this issue. And my heart goes out to the children who are dealing with this and the parents as well, and the doctors.”

 

Alabama’s decision is in line with a growing recognition of the danger of pushing irreparable medical treatments on children. As an example, a U.K. High Court recently barred children 16 and under from receiving puberty blockers, ruling that they cannot legally consent to such life-changing treatments. Keira Bell, a 23-year-old who went through transgender treatment but eventually decided to try to transition back to her birth sex, brought a lawsuit against Tavistock, the U.K.’s only specialized gender clinic for children She claimed that the puberty blocking drugs she was given to start taking at age 16 permanently damaged her body. “I made a brash decision as a teenager (as a lot of teenagers do), trying to find confidence and happiness, except now the rest of my life will be negatively affected,” Bell said.

 

In its ruling, the court stated:

 

“It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers. It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.”

 

What’s more, a nine-year-long study of children taking puberty blockers found that the treatments significantly impacted bone growth. “In both cases (height and bone strength) there was some growth but less than would be expected during those years without hormonal suppression,” researchers wrote, noting that additional research is needed to determine whether the weakened bones are irreversible.

 

Of the findings, Oxford Professor Dr. Michael Biggs said,

 

“Considered as a treatment in its own right, the suppression of puberty with GnRHa (a puberty blocker) might be the only treatment provided by the NHS (National Health Service) for which there is no objective evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks — as the authors themselves admitted in their statistical plan. The only justification for puberty suppression is to prepare a child for lifelong medicalization with cross-sex hormones and surgeries, with irreversible consequences for sexuality and fertility.”

 

Biggs also discovered that children at the Tavistock gender clinic “reported greater self-harm with these particular medications, and girls exhibited greater emotional problems and dissatisfaction with their bodies.”

 

That politicians or activists don’t seem to care about the short- and long-term impact of this on our children is perplexing but not when you start looking at the forces behind this movement.

 

Jennifer Bilek, an independent journalist, has been investigating for some time how the gay rights movement went from gaining societal acceptance for same-sex couples to this LGBT behemoth that is now largely focused on encouraging children and young adults to reject their birth sex and taken on a new identity. Her investigation led her to trace the money streams and extensive infrastructure that is driving transgenderism into law and culture, and what she had found and documented is that this is no grassroots, civil rights movement led by activists and concerned parents.

 

Instead, she says, it is a very deliberate push by mega-wealthy elites with ties to the pharmaceutical, medical, and other industries, as well as Big Media, Big Tech, and Hollywood to create and sustain a new, highly profitable and sustainable revenue stream. She explained in an article in The Federalist:

 

“It’s hard to imagine a civil rights movement so indelibly tied to the capitalist marketplace that it could be used to sell fashion, makeup, hormones, surgery, cosmetology services, movies, TV series, mental health treatment, and women’s underwear, while concurrently being invested in by billionaire philanthropists, the technology and pharmaceutical industries, major corporations, and banks…. We need to look at what transgenderism does, how it functions, and how it is growing in the culture, and to ask why it does what it does, what it is asking of us, why it is so tightly wedded to commerce, and where it is leading. The trans lobby screams civil rights, but transgenderism looks and functions just like the worst of capitalism.”

 

 

Whoever is behind the transgender movement, it is clear that the only ones who can invoke some much-needed common-sense measures to protect children are state legislatures.

 

Left-leaning groups may cry foul about Alabama interfering in this decision, but minors are already prevented by state law from engaging in numerous activities to keep them safe and to give them time to more fully understand the impact of certain activities and decisions.

 

As Shelnutt noted, teenagers are not allowed to drink or smoke until they reach adulthood. Children under 17 aren’t technically allowed to watch an R-rated movie without a parent. Each state has an age requirement for a driver’s license. Children cannot undergo plastic surgery or receive vaccinations (except in the District of Columbia) without parental consent before the age of 18. Teenagers in most states require a permit to work before the age of 16, and they are not allowed to work as an apprentice for an electrician or plumber or other higher-risk vocation until they turn 18.  

 

So why should children be allowed to make decisions that clearly alter their appearance and physical function and could negatively and even permanently impact their fertility, sexual function, bone density, and, yes, even their mental health? The truth is that there have been no “gold standard” long-term studies done to determine the safety or side effects of these treatments on prepubescent and pubescent children.

 

Just as state legislators have attempted to limit abortion, not out of a desire to control women but out of a desire to protect children, in the same way this bill is designed to protect children. We have laws limiting what minors can and can’t do because their brains are not fully developed yet. In fact, experts disagree, but a person’s brain continues to mature up to age 25, or possibly even into their 30s.

 

What that means is, children’s brains are not developed enough to make life-altering decisions such as using puberty blockers or undergoing sex-transition surgery that could negatively and even permanently impact their fertility, future sexual function, bone density, and other systemic function.

 

Parents are told that it is loving to allow a child to undergo such treatment and that it will improve the child’s mental health.

 

At best, though, there is simply not enough evidence to support such a claim due to the lack of long-term safety or impact studies on how these treatments affect pubescent and prepubescent children. At worst, it is a lie that causes parents to allow and even encourage their child to irreparably alter and harm his or her body.