The Slatest

Alabama Governor Signs Into Law Chemical Castration Requirement for Some Sex Offenders

A protestor dressed as a character from the Hulu TV show "The Handmaid's Tale," in front of the Alabama statehouse.
The Alabama state Legislature approved the chemical castration bill on May 30.
Julie Bennett/Getty Images

The state of Alabama has been busy of late fiddling individuals’ reproductive systems. This week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill that requires certain types of sex offenders to undergo a chemical castration procedure before they are able to be paroled from prison. The procedure will be a prerequisite for sex offenders that have been convicted of sex crimes with minors below the age of 13 years old.

The chemical castration required by the new state law is not permanent, it involves receiving medication through injection or taken orally that suppresses the body’s production of testosterone, in theory, reducing one’s sex drive. The legislation defines the procedure as: “the receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.” In most cases, the offender would be responsible for paying for the procedure and would be administered until a judge decides it is no longer necessary.

Despite the heinousness of the crime in question, there are pretty serious ethical questions forced procedures, even temporary ones. “It’s not clear that this actually has any effect and whether it’s even medically proven,” Randall Marshall, executive director of the ALCU of Alabama, told AL.com. “When the state starts experimenting on people, I think it runs afoul of the Constitution.” It’s a slippery slope, but castration as a condition of release is one at least a half dozen other states have already bound down, according to NBC News, including California, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Texas and Wisconsin.

“If they’re going to mark these children for life, they need to be marked for life,” state Rep. Steve Hurst, a Republican who sponsored the bill, told NBC affiliate WSFA. “My preference would be if someone does a small infant child like that, they need to die… God’s going to deal with them one day.” Hurst has sponsored similar bills for the last decade, AL.com reports, but was able to get it passed this time around on the next-to-last day of the legislative session.