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Anti-trans health care bill’s sponsor, doctor clash publicly over “dangerous legislation”

Dr. Elizabeth Dawson says her state legislator is mischaracterizing what his bill would outlaw.

Dr. Elizabeth Dawson, a Troy pediatrician, posted a short video to YouTube on March 6 to refute statements made by Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, about his proposed bill that would ban medical treatment for transgender minors.

Dawson had published an op-ed in the Troy Messenger explaining her opposition to HB1. Allen responded with his own op-ed in which he made several claims that have been challenged by critics of the bill in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee and which Dawson addresses in her video.

She cites three specific statements as incorrect:

  • Allen wrote that the bill will prevent gender reassignment surgeries being done on minors: “If she gets her way and HB1 fails, it will still be possible in the state of Alabama for minor children to receive gender reassignment surgeries and to receive prescriptions for puberty blocking and cross-sex hormones.”

Dawson responded that the first part of that sentence is untrue: “Minors do not receive gender reassignment surgery in Alabama because it’s prohibited by federal law. It would be malpractice to perform removal of genital tissue on a minor.”

  • Allen’s op-ed stated that “…I have also heard from people who are advocating that children as young as 7-years-old should be able to make the decision to have a doctor prescribe off-label, cross sex hormonal medications that could have permanent and dangerous effects.”

That isn’t a possibility, Dawson said: “Such a reckless choice would be illegal because our age of medical consent is 14.”

  • Allen implied that puberty blockers, which are non-surgical hormone treatments, have irreversible effects: “I have heard from people who believe that children as young as 13 should be able to make the decision to have their sexual organs removed or permanently altered.”

Dawson refuted that idea: “Thirty years of medical practice and research by pediatric endocrinologists prove that the effects of puberty blockers are reversible.”

Allen’s bill, titled the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, was approved by committees in the Senate and House and is due to be voted on by the full Legislature. The House Judiciary Committee approved an amendment by Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody, that removed the bill’s ban on allowing psychologists from providing counseling to transgendered minors. 

The bill’s critics say that if it becomes law, it will criminalize treatment that is life-saving for many teens experiencing gender dysphoria, which produces excruciating mental and social dissonance and dramatically increases the risk of suicide.

Written By

Micah Danney is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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