Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
The State of Alabama is one step away from enacting a pair of bills that will ban the discussion of sexual topics in kindergarten-fifth-grade classrooms, require all students to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth, and treat as a felon anyone who provides gender reassignment treatments to children under the age of 18.
HB 322 and SB 184 easily passed both houses of the Alabama legislature and now require only the approval of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey in order to become law. Ivey has not yet indicated publicly whether she will support either bill.
The House bill was originally meant only to address transgender access to bathrooms and locker rooms. However, as reported by the Montgomery Advertiser, State Sen. Shay Shelnutt pushed for and received an amendment that expanded the bill to ban the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in K-5 classrooms “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
“We just don’t think it’s appropriate to be talking about homosexuality and gender identity,” the Advertiser quoted Shelnutt as saying. “You know, they should be talking about math, science [and] writing, especially in elementary school.”
The Senate bill, titled Vulnerable Child Protection Act, stipulates that anyone who administers puberty blockers or hormone therapy, or who performs gender-affirming surgery on a child younger than 18 could be tried as a felon, imprisoned for up to 10 years, and fined.
According to a report by ABC News, Shelnutt, the sponsor of this bill, said that gender-affirming treatments were a form of mistreatment.
“We don’t want parents to be abusing their children,” ABC quoted Shelnutt as saying. “We don’t want to make that an option, because that’s what it is; it’s child abuse. This is just to protect children.”
Democrat Neil Rafferty attempted to argue that the bill did not adhere to the Republican ideals of small government, saying, “This is not small government; this is not a conservative bill.”
Republican Rep. Wes Allen refuted the sentiment, likening the initiative to laws that prevent minors from getting tattoos or buying nicotine products:
We make decisions in this body all the time that are to protect children from making decisions that could permanently harm them.
In response to the bill, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House was putting Alabama “on notice,” claiming that transgender surgeries are “medically necessary life-saving health care.”
Alabama’s lawmakers and other legislators who are contemplating these … discriminatory bills have been put on notice by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that laws and policies preventing care that health care professionals recommend for transgender minors may violate the Constitution and federal law,” Psaki said at a press conference on Thursday.
White House condemns Alabama law that prevents genital mutilation of minors, saying the state has been "put on notice." pic.twitter.com/xJFFtCIJmE
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) April 7, 2022
While Psaki claims that the Alabama bill will “harm kids,” conservatives say these bills are necessary to save kids from an aggressive agenda push from the left that has caused widespread psychological and emotional harm to today’s youth.
The ACLU has said that they plan to challenge the bill if Gov. Ivey signs it into law.