Legislation to prohibit doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors is advancing in the Alabama State legislature.
Representative Wes Allen, from Alabama's 89th legislative district, joined us on Washington Watch to explain why he decided to lead on this important but sensitive political issue.
"The motivation is to protect children," Rep. Allen explained. "I was really shocked that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones were being given to minors."
If passed, the legislation would be the first of its kind in the U.S. to prohibit health care providers from helping minors prevent puberty and would stand in stark contrast to national and international trends toward making it easier and more common (with the exception of some positive legislation in Britain).
According to journalist Abigail Shrier, author of the book Irreversible Damage, the number of gender reassignment clinics in the United States has increased from one in 2007 to 50 today. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender reassignment surgeries for girls quadrupled.
Across the pond in Britain, there was a 4,400 percent rise in gender reassignments for teenage girls compared to 2008. The effort in Alabama to make it harder for children to conceal their sex also stands in contrast to the Biden administration's priorities on the issue.
President Biden has taken early action to ensure that the military will pay for the gender reassignment surgery of soldiers and signed an executive order requiring schools and universities to allow biological males to compete on female sports teams.
Still, Rep. Allen is confident their course of action is the best for children.
"I don't believe we're protecting children when we allow them to take powerful drugs that are used off label that block puberty. Puberty is not a disease. We need to protect these kids and show them compassion, but at the same time affirming that if they are born male they are male and if they are born female they are female."
There is nothing unusual about the law preventing minors from doing things that adults can't do. Minors can't enter contracts, buy cigarettes, drive cars, buy guns, watch R-rated movies in theaters without parents, or, in some states, go to a tanning bed.
Given the seriousness of the issue and the gravity of the decision, Rep. Allen believes the permanent damage estrogen does to a male body and testosterone can do to a female body justifies a cautious approach to this sensitive issue.
"When you're a young child, you don't think like an adult does," he said. "We want to give children time to mature. Studies show that 85-90 percent of children grow out of it and grow to accept who God made them; grow to accept their bodies."
You can listen to the entire interview here.