Alabama’s efforts to criminalize gender-affirming care violate pediatric recommendations and doctor-family relationship, harm transgender patients
MONTGOMERY, AL AND WASHINGTON, DC – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Alabama Chapter of AAP (AL-AAP) strongly oppose SB 184, a bill that endangers the health and well-being of transgender and gender-diverse youth.
On April 7, the Alabama House passed SB 184, which bans all forms of evidence-based gender-affirming medical care, requires educators and school staff to disclose gender-questioning students’ identities to their parents, and classifies providing gender-affirming care as a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The bill passed both chambers of the state legislature with limited debate and awaits the governor’s signature.
"Pediatricians are dedicated to the well-being of all children. Laws like these directly interfere with their ability to keep their patients healthy and provide evidence-based care," said AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Mark Del Monte, JD. "This legislation targets vulnerable young people and puts them at great risk of physical and mental harm. Pediatricians are committed to caring for all children. Criminalizing evidence-based, medically necessary services is dangerous to their patients and profession."
The AAP has long supported gender-affirming care for transgender youth, which includes the use of puberty-suppressing medications when appropriate, as outlined in its own policy statement, urging that youth who identify as transgender have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space in close consultation with parents.
The Academy has repeatedly opposed bills that discriminate against transgender youth and their right to receive medical care, and advocated against restrictions to their rights in other states. The Alabama Chapter of AAP has consistently advocated against prohibitions on gender-affirming care in Alabama.
For young people who identify as transgender, studies show that gender-affirming care can reduce emotional distress, improve their sense of well-being and reduce the risk of suicide.
“The Alabama Chapter of AAP strongly opposes this bill, which criminalizes evidence-based care, endangers the safety of vulnerable youth at home, and interferes with the fundamental physician-patient-family relationship. Pediatricians in our state care for transgender patients the way we care for all of our patients, by providing science-based, high-quality care to those who need it. We know our patients best, and physicians, not politicians, should be the ones determining how to best do our job. We urge Governor Ivey to veto this bill and instead pursue policies that prioritize children’s health and safety,” said Alabama Chapter-AAP Vice President Nola Ernest, MD, FAAP.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
About the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
A 501 (c) 3 organization, the Alabama Chapter of the AAP is the only statewide member organization of pediatricians, with more than 850 members across the state, representing both academic and community pediatrics in both urban and rural areas. With a mission to obtain optimal health and well-being for all children in Alabama, and to provide educational and practice support for its membership so the highest quality of medical care can be achieved, the organization has an active voice on almost every state collaborative effort that serves the health interests of children.