On Thursday, April 7, Alabama legislature passed Alabama Senate Bill 184, also known as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, with a vote of 66-28. The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Kay Ivey to become law. If signed into law, the bill would prohibit the acts of performing a medical procedure or prescribing medication to a minor “that is intended to alter the appearance of the minor child’s gender or delay puberty, with certain exceptions,” according to the bill in its current form.
Sen. Shay Shelnutt and Sen. Gerald Allen introduced the bill, and on Wednesday, Feb. 9, the Senate Health Committee voted unanimously to pass the bill. On Thursday, Feb. 24, the Senate approved the bill, moving it on to the Alabama House of Representatives where it awaits further examination, according to Bama Politics.
SB 184 states that the legislature of Alabama declares that “the sex of a person is the biological state of being female or male, based on sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles, and is genetically encoded into a person at the moment of conception, and it cannot be changed.” Because of this belief, the bill promotes a “wait-and-see approach” to the matter of children experiencing nonconformity to the sex into which they were born.
The bill cites studies that argue that the described gender-changing practices, such as puberty blockers, hormonal treatments and cosmetic procedures, do not often fix the “psychological issues affecting the individual” and can result in a higher rate of substance abuse and depression.
If passed, the bill would not only prohibit medical professionals from administering the aforementioned types of procedures on minors, it would also prohibit any administrative official at a public or private school from “encouraging or coercing” a minor to keep information regarding their gender or sex from their parents or legal guardian.
These prohibitions on medical procedures do not apply to any child who is born with a “medically verifiable disorder of sex development.”
Anyone who violates the act should it be put into effect would be guilty of committing a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. According to an April 7 article on AL.com, this bill has already caused much divisiveness in the Alabama Senate and House, as well as among Alabama citizens and the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Citizens of Alabama currently await the governor’s decision.