Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act is getting a lot of attention from the LGTBQ community.
The new form of legislation would prohibit gender change therapy for minors; making it a felony offense for doctors to administer hormonal drug treatments.
Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-AL) is the Senate sponsor for the bill and says children shouldn’t make this sort of decision at a young age; however, those against the bill say this is a decision between the child, parent, and doctor and not the governments decision.
“This bill is medically harmful for many reasons,” Amanda Keller with Magic City Acceptance Center said.
The Magic City Acceptance Center helps teens and young adults in the LGTBQ community. Keller says the new bill by the house won’t protect children but cause even more physical and mental harm.
“This is a medical issue. And coming out for youth is something that is between youth and themselves and no one else,” Keller said.
Sydney Duncan is an attorney with the Birmingham AIDS Outreach. She says the bill would also impact parents as well.
“This is the legislature cancelling private rights of citizens to parent their children in a way they and their doctors feel is necessary,” Duncan said.
Shelnutt defended the bills purpose on Wednesday.
“Children should not be making life decisions,” Shelnutt said.
Shelnutt says experts he has spoken with say the hormonal drugs and other transgender procedures could cause long term issues. He believes those who identify as transgender should wait.
“You know, when these children become adults want to do the surgey or take drugs, then that will be their right,” Shelnutt said.
If the bill passes, violating the law would be a class C felony and doctors could face 10 years in prison if they administer the drugs. Duncan believes this bill could be a slippery slope to other harmful laws.
“I mean this could be extremely problematic for a lot of us, no matter how you identify,” Duncan said.
Many in the LGBTQ community hope the senate hear their side.
“People like people letting them be themselves and supporting them in that. And allowing people to live to be healthy happy adults,” Keller said.
This bill was introduced in 2020. It passed both the House and the Senate, but did not make it to the Governor’s Office for signing because of COVID-19. Shelnutt says there is no set date to vote on the bill.