CA Attorney General Leads Multistate Opposition to Alabama Law Criminalizing Gender-Affirming Medical Care for Transgender Youth


By Rena Abdusalm

OAKLAND, CA – Led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, an alliance of 21 attorneys general filed an amicus brief this week, opposing an Alabama law that criminalizes transgender youth from seeking gender-affirming care, although being evidence-based and medically accepted. 

Preliminarily blocked by the district court, the law makes it a felony—punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000—for anyone to aid transgender youth in receiving gender-affirming care. 

“Medical decisions should be between doctors and their patients, not doctors, their patients, and the State of Alabama,” Attorney General Bonta said. “Whether it’s access to abortion or hormone therapy, Alabama’s overreach puts people’s lives and well-being at risk. Let’s be clear: Gender-affirming care doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a rigorous and evidence-based medical process.”

Bonta added, “Criminalizing trans youth, their families, and doctors over access to medical care doesn’t solve anything, it only serves to marginalize and endanger people for who they are. I urge the appellate court to follow the law and strike down Alabama’s discriminatory attack on the rights of transgender Americans.”

He said the legislation, which was signed into law on April 8, 2022, is part of a threatening, nationwide attack on transgender people, depriving them of the right to live with dignity, be free from discrimination, and have the accessibility to healthcare. 

The ban, Bonta added, ignores agreed medical opinion, interferes with decisions made between patients and their families, and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically targeting transgender youth, it disregards the exact type of medical treatment that is used for reinforcing the assigned gender at birth for cisgender teens. 

For example, doctors can prescribe testosterone for a cisgender male that suffers from delayed pubertal development, but can be criminalized if a transgender male teen is given the same treatment.

Discrimination and exclusion, when identifying as transgender, causes physical and emotional harm, such as an increased risk of mental illness, drug abuse, and suicide, the Bonta Coalition stated.

The coalition explained in the amicus brief:

  • SB 184 harms transgender teens living and traveling to Alabama and causes spillover harms on other states;
  • SB 184 would exaggerate consequences of discrimination and creates inaccessible healthcare for transgender teens;
  • SB 184 discriminates gender identity, disregards medical procedures, and obstructs decisions made between doctors and patients; and ignores medical policies in coalition states that ensured access to gender-affirming care, which have shown to improve outcomes for transgender people.

Attorney General Bonta is joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

About The Author

Rena is a junior at Davis Senior High School and is currently exploring her interest in the criminal justice system. After high school, she plans to attend college and continue to pursue a career in law.

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