May 8 (Reuters) - An Alabama law that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming medical treatment to transgender youth went into effect on Sunday while a federal judge weighs whether to grant a motion to put a temporary hold on it.
The legislation makes it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison to provide puberty blockers, hormones and medical procedures to transgender youth under 19.
A similar but not as far-reaching law in Arkansas was blocked by the courts last year before it could go into effect.
The groups filed the lawsuit on behalf of parents of four Alabama transgender youth, two physicians and a minister.
Mainstream medical and mental health professionals say gender-affirming care saves lives by reducing the already high risk of depression and suicide among trans youth.
Transgender rights have emerged as a wedge issue in the culture wars ahead of the November midterm congressional elections.
Republican lawmakers have introduced hundreds of bills across state legislatures, the majority of them directed at trans youth. »