Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued an amicus brief Wednesday with 16 other GOP-led states in support of the recent Arkansas ban on ‘experimental’ transition-related care for transgender minors.
The brief outlined why top legal officials in 17 states supported the controversial ban implemented in April.
"We are filing this brief because, like Arkansas, we are concerned about the surge in recent years of children suffering from gender dysphoria and other forms of gender-related psychological distress," Marshall said in a statement Tuesday. "Like Arkansas — and like those challenging the SAFE Act — we are concerned because these vulnerable children are suffering greatly and need help. The vital questions are, how do we help them, and how do we avoid serious irreversible damage."
The brief follows a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in May, challenging a state’s ability to deny minors "gender-affirming" treatment.
The ban, which goes into effect by the end of this month, prohibits treatment such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery for transgender minors.
The ACLU has argued that forcing children to go through puberty as their "assigned" sex at birth, rather than their identifying sex, puts them at risk of "extreme distress" as their bodies naturally develop.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of puberty blockers for children who have started puberty at an early age.
The suit argues that banning puberty blockers for transgender kids is discriminatory as they are still permitted in the state of Arkansas for cisgender children in order to allow them to go through puberty with their peers.
"The law bans the care only when provided to affirm the gender of transgender youth," the ACLU said in a statement. "Such brazen discrimination cannot be reconciled with the Constitution."
But the attorney generals have argued that using treatments like puberty blockers for transgender children is "experimental" and pointed to countries like Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom who classify it as such.
"The evidence also shows that nearly all children whose gender dysphoria is treated with puberty blockers to ‘buy time’ will proceed to take cross-sex hormones and seek other medical interventions with irreversible, lifelong consequences—complications such as infertility, loss of sexual function, increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, bone density problems, risk of altered brain development, social risks from delayed puberty, and mental health concerns," Marshall said.
Supporters of transition-related care for transgender minors argue it allows children to grow into their chosen identities without having to carry irreversible traits that naturally occur without puberty blockers such as facial hair in males or breasts in females.
The attorney generals argued that as children’s brains are not fully developed and they lack life experience, they should not be allowed to make life-altering decisions.
"With the stakes so high, the harms so great, and the known benefits so paltry, the Arkansas legislature did not have to embrace an experimental path in lieu of the one that has served the medical profession so well for so long: First, do no harm," Marshall said Tuesday.
Marshall was joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
Fox News could not immediately reach the ACLU for comment.