At a recent meeting of the Autauga County GOP, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall spoke at length about his office's ongoing battle defending Alabama's law prohibiting transgender surgeries and medications for minors.

In April 2022, Gov. Kay Ivey signed VCAP (SB184) into law, which prohibits doctors in Alabama from performing transgender operations or prescribing cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers to individuals under 19. 

VCAP went into effect on May 8, 2022, but was blocked by U.S. District Judge Liles Burke a few days later. The injunction by Burke came after multiple parties added themselves as plaintiffs in the case, including five transgender minors by way of their parents, the United States of America and Kaitlin Toyama, an attorney-advisor with the civil rights division of the DOJ.

In March, Burke ruled in favor of the state on a motion related to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), requiring WPATH to disclose information for the formulation of the guidelines it offers for treating gender dysphoria, which are touted as the "gold standard" in so-called gender-affirming care.

The trial for VCAP is slated to begin in 2024. However, a recent appeals court ruling for Tennessee gives Marshall hope for Alabama's case.

Earlier this month, a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel repealed an earlier injunction on a Tennessee law that banned so-called gender-affirming care. Marshall called the Tennessee decision "huge" for Alabama's upcoming trail defending VCAP. Tennessee is the first state to allow a ban on transgender treatments for minors to go forward, with several states, including Alabama, fighting injunctions in federal court.

Additionally, Marshall has come under fire over the past year for the millions of dollars his office has paid outside attorneys and experts to defend VCAP in federal court. Including the state approving contracts worth $975,000 for five lawyers from Washington, D.C. earlier this month.

According to Marshall, outside attorneys and experts are necessary due to the bevy of financial support and pro bono legal work from transgender advocates.

"I will tell you that if we are spending $985,000 in taxpayer money to validate that law in Alabama, then it will be money well spent," Marshall said.

"[I]f you want to know why I got outside lawyers, it's because we've got the SPLC, which is basically a hedge fund because of all the money they have offshore. We have all these third-party interest groups that have weighed in. I've got an international-respected law firm doing pro bono work. One of the preeminent litigation firms in the state doing pro bono work. And we've got to be able to defend this. I'm not going to back away from the fact that I'm going to reach out and find some outstanding lawyers to help us wade through all the documents and all the work we've got to do. Because I can guarantee you, the left has an army of people willing to come in and do it. And don't forget, woke corporations are willing to pay money to be able to support what they're doing."

Marshall also spoke briefly on meeting several "detransitioners" – individuals who have undergone medical intervention for gender dysphoria and later regret their decision. According to Marshall, those meetings further encouraged him to prove the state's interest in "protecting kids."

In several European countries, the use of transgender medicines and operations for minors has been slowed or halted as voices opposing the practice continue to grow. Across the globe, detransitioners are also taking their doctors or state health organizations to court.

"We need to have a legitimate debate about the science," Marshall continued. "Because Europe is doing it. But, somehow or another, we just want to listen to this organization called WPATH."

"In some of the cases that have been out there where these laws have been challenged, and Alabama's one of them, WPATH is being used as the gold standard in the medical standard of care to deal with these kids. And yet, our experts who have come out and opposed it and gave the reasons why, are accused of being advocates for a certain position. But y'all, WPATH is the richest and most formidable advocate on the transgender side, but yet they never get criticized for it."

"And the good thing I can tell you is that Alabama is now going to have the opportunity to be able to expose it. With the work of our team in the case in which we have been challenged, we are now going to have access to the records of WPATH."

For opponents of medical interventions for transgender youth — specifically the WPATH guidelines — the alleged consensus regarding transgender medicine is more political than scientific, a case Marshall's office will endeavor to make during trial.  

"These are not sort of scientific standards developed based upon research," Marshall said. "But instead, a bunch of advocates pushing off-label use of medication that Joe Biden's FDA hasn't even approved. Then we are going to be able to demonstrate the legitimate interest of the state of Alabama to be able to protect kids."

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