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Walker et al v Marshall et al

Location: Alabama
Status: Ongoing
Last Update: April 12, 2022

What's at Stake

The Walker family and the White family have raised their children, H.W. and C.W. in Alabama. A new Alabama law may force them to leave the state because providing gender-affirming care — which doctors says is medically necessary for H.W. and C.W. — is now a felony offense.

Summary

Two Alabama families filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging a recently passed law that criminalizes medical professionals who provide care to transgender adolescents with up to 10 years in prison. The families say being denied medically necessary care will be devastating for the mental and physical health of their adolescent children. The lawsuit alleges that the new Alabama law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

H.W. is a 15-year-old girl who says “I know that I am a girl and I always have been.” She has sued with her parents Jeff and Lisa Walker who say that if their daughter is cut off from her doctor-prescribed health care, the family will have to move away from Alabama, separating H.W. from her older brother who serves in the Alabama National Guard.

Like the Walker family, Jeffrey and Christa are prepared to leave the state rather than allow their 13-year-old daughter, C.W., to lose access to her health care. Jeffrey says he had to take some time to learn what it means to be transgender but “with love and support — including medically necessary care — I know she can thrive, and that’s all any parent wants for their kid.”

A federal court has blocked Arkansas from enforcing a similar law that was passed last year. A state court in Texas has also blocked the state from investigating parents of transgender adolescents receiving gender-affirming care for child abuse.

Medical organizations and doctors have repeatedly opposed these bills, along with major businesses. Studies consistently show that transgender children who receive gender-affirming care such as puberty-delaying medication and/or hormones when they are young have better mental health outcomes and report fewer cases of depression, self-harm, and suicide or attempted suicide.

The families are represented by the ACLU’s Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project, the ACLU of Alabama, Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center, and Cooley LLP.

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