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Senate passed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act


Thursday, the Alabama state Senate passed a bill that would make it a felony for doctors to perform gender altering treatments and surgeries on children under the age of 19.

The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, Senate Bill 219, is sponsored by State Senator Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville. SB219 is cosponsored by Sens. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, and Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa.

It would make it a Class C felony for doctors to perform castrations, vasectomies, hysterectomies, prescribe super ordinary hormone treatments, or prescribe puberty blockers to any individuals who are not adults even with parental permission.

Shelnutt said, “I just don’t think and others don’t think that kids should be given experimental drugs or surgeries that could have irreversible consequences for the rest of their life.”

Puberty blockers are meant to delay puberty so that transgender youth have more time to assess their options before the body undergoes permanent changes.

“Kids are not fully developed until later in life,” Shelnutt said. “I think we can all agree that kids aren’t capable of making certain decisions until certain ages. And so, we want to just stop these procedures from happening in Alabama.”

The Alabama Vulnerable Child and Compassion Protection Act (VCAP) is supported by Alabama Eagle Forum.

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Eagle Forum Executive Director Becky Gerritson said in a statement, “This legislation is necessary for many reasons. One is that the long-term effects of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones have not been studied. Another vital statistic is that after the sex reassignment surgery, transgender identified people are nearly 20 times more likely to die by suicide than the general public.”[

Doctors across the nation are giving minors, (even those in elementary school) puberty blockers and cross sex hormones as a treatment of gender dysphoria. Some doctors are even amputating healthy non-diseased body parts. In some states 13 year old girls receiving double mastectomies and boys as young as 15 are being castrated.

President of Eagle Forum Eunie Smith explains, “We support this bill because it protects vulnerable children who are suffering from gender dysphoria from irreversible medical procedures that will alter their bodies for life. The brain’s frontal lobe that is responsible for emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors is not fully developed until age 25. Therefore, many minors are making life-altering decisions which may render them sterile for life, cause serious bone loss, and decreased cognitive development from hormone therapy. Other harmful effects are not fully known. Children must be helped; not harmed.”

Eagle Forum argues that up to 98 percent of children who struggle with their sex as a boy or a girl, come to accept their sex by adulthood if allowed to go through natural puberty.

The EMLALA clinic in Birmingham administer puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors, and, according to Eagle Forum, gender dysphoric patients may also be referred to surgeons outside of the clinic.

Gerritson also cited Dr. Michelle Cretella, Executive Director of the American College of Pediatricians who emphasized “a recent article published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, in which psychologist Dr. James Cantor discredits the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) endorsement of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for minors as a grave misrepresentation of science. Upon reviewing every reference of the AAP statement Dr. Cantor concluded, ‘[The] AAP’s statement is a systematic exclusion and misrepresentation of entire literatures. Not only did AAP fail to provide compelling evidence, it failed to provide the evidence at all. Indeed, AAP’s recommendations are despite the existing evidence.’”

The LGBTQ community opposes SB219. They claim that gender reassignment therapy will reduce the risk of transgender teens committing suicide and that these decisions should be left between the child, their parents, and the doctor.

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SB219 passed the Senate on a 22 to 3 vote. The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration. The House version of the bill, HB303, is sponsored by State Representative Wes Allen (R-Troy). It has already been advanced by the House Health Committee.

At least ten other states are considering similar legislation.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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