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Lawsuits against new trans treatment law dropped, refile expected

BY HEATHER GANN, Alabama Daily News

Plaintiffs recently moved to voluntarily dismiss two federal lawsuits targeting Alabama’s new law criminalizing certain medical care for transgender youth, but an attorney for one party said they will refile soon.

The lawsuits were filed in response to Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature on Senate Bill 184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, which makes it a Class C felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming medical treatments, including puberty blockers, to children under the age of 19. Class C felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“(Senate Bill) 184 was hastily passed by the Alabama Legislature on April 7 and immediately signed into law by Gov. Ivey on April 8.  We promptly filed a lawsuit on behalf of two families and two doctors on the day Gov. Ivey signed the bill,” Birmingham attorney Melody Eagan told Alabama Daily News.

“After filing that case, we are hearing from numerous Alabama families, including patients facing loss of critical medical care and parents facing potential criminal penalties for seeking recommended medical care they believe to be in the best interest of their children. We also are hearing from numerous medical providers and others who care for transgender youth in Alabama. We plan to file a new case in the immediate future, to block this dangerous law.”

The law takes effect May 8.

Shelnutt and other supporters during the legislative session called the medical treatment of trans youth abuse.

“This bill is strictly about protecting children,” Shelnutt said previously. “We want to make sure these surgeries and (puberty blocking) medications are never given to children. This bill prevents medical treatments on otherwise healthy minors.”

A similar lawsuit filed by the Alabama American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of another Alabama family was also dropped Friday. Director of Communications Seonju Bickley said the ACLU is still processing the situation but will come to a decision soon about whether it will refile.

In a written statement late last week, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall praised the moves to dismiss the original lawsuits filed earlier in the week and a few days after the bill became law.

“Alabama’s law was challenged almost immediately by a fleet of activist groups that collectively control billions of dollars,” Marshall said. “… I’m grateful for the work my team has done to defend this important law and the children it defends,” Marshall said.

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