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White House warned against Alabama’s law criminalizing transgender care

A federal judge is debating whether to grant a preliminary injunction, putting a temporary halt to the law, which went into effect Sunday.

(STOCK)

Alabama’s law making it illegal in Alabama for doctors to provide gender-affirming medical care for gender dysphoric minors went into effect Sunday, but White House officials warned weeks ago against it.

The federal government joined a lawsuit seeking to reverse Alabama’s law. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on whether to approve a motion for a preliminary injunction. 

“HHS is committed to protecting young Americans who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and supporting their parents, caregivers, families and their doctors,” Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Beccera said in a tweet on April 7. “I know that many youth and their families are feeling scared and isolated because of these attacks — and I want them to know we see you, we support you and we are with you. HHS is closely monitoring the situation in the states, and will use every tool at our disposal to keep our kids and doctors safe.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in an April 7 briefing said Republican elected officials were  “engaging in a disturbing, cynical trend of attacking vulnerable transgender kids for purely partisan political reasons.” 

“Today in Alabama instead of focusing on critical kitchen table issues like the economy, COVID or addressing the country’s mental health crisis, Republican lawmakers are currently debating legislation, that among many things, would target trans youth with tactics that threaten to put pediatricians in prison If they provide medically necessary life saving health care for the kids they serve,” Psaki said last month, prior to Alabama’s legislation becoming law. 

“LGBTQI-plus people can’t be erased or forced back into any closets, and kids across our nation should be allowed to be who they are without the threat that their parents or their doctor could be imprisoned simply for helping them and loving them,” Psaki continued. 

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke heard from plaintiffs and the state in two hearings last week the lawsuit seeking to block Alabama’s law. Whether or not the judge approves the motion for an injunction, both parties in the suit said it would take at least six months to prepare for a trial, where the merits of the law would be challenged.

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Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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