Courtesy of UA OutLaw
On Wednesday afternoon, Alabama’s House Judiciary Committee voted to pass House Bill 1. The bill, while couched in language of compassion, is an attack on the rights of transgender youth in Alabama. It would charge doctors who provide gender-affirming care for these children with a felony regardless of the wishes of the parents and the child. It also requires teachers and other school officials to “out” trans youth to their parents, which puts children in abusive households in grave danger. House Bill 1 cannot be allowed to pass.
We, the University of Alabama School of Law OutLaw Chapter, urge you to contact your state representative and senator to express your opposition to this bill before it comes before the full legislature. The bill is an egregious example of governmental overreach, and it infringes on the relationships between doctors and patients as well as the relationships between parents and their children. Doctors, when under threat of felony charges, cannot provide the care that their patients need, and parents who seek care for their children thus have their choices dictated by the state of Alabama. The state cannot and should not interfere in these most vital relationships.
If the legislature votes to take control over children’s bodies over the objection of parents and doctors, the taxpayers of Alabama will suffer because of their elected officials’ decision. Instead of tax money being used to fund education, infrastructure, or sorely needed social services, it will be diverted to defend the state’s abhorrent attempt to dehumanize and irreparably harm transgender youth and the teachers, counselors and medical professionals who care for them. Rather than forcing children to endure lawsuits over their right to healthcare, or arresting the doctors that provide it, children should instead simply be allowed to receive life-sustaining care. The assumptions underlying this piece of legislation are not based in medical science. Make no mistake: Passing this bill will not discourage the existence of transgender youth in Alabama; it will only ensure that these children suffer unneccesary pain as they wait to receive this care as adults.
The right to self-determination in healthcare for all Alabama citizens, free from the interference of the state, is one that must be protected by the Alabama legislature. In order to ensure that this right is upheld in our state, we as constituents must continue to express to our representatives that we cannot tolerate this attack on the rights of transgender Alabamians, nor can we allow parents, medical professionals and school officials to be caught in the crossfire. Transgender youth across Alabama deserve to be affirmed, supported, and treated with dignity. Please take a moment to show your support by contacting your legislators.
You can find your Alabama state representatives at the Alabama Secretary of State website, and you can find the ACLU of Alabama’s letter-writing campaign here.
A version of this letter was originally sent to the members of Alabama’s House Judiciary Committee before the Committee’s Feb. 24 vote on House Bill 1.
OutLaw is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and ally members of the University of Alabama Law School community. Their goals are to provide a community and social network for LGBTQIA-identified people within the Law School, to provide opportunities and connections for member of the Law School community who are interested in LGBTQIA+ rights, to bring the Law School community’s attention to issues of special concern to the LGBT community, and to serve as a bridge between Alabama students, law school alumni and the legal profession at large.