Child Sex Offenders Could Be ‘Chemically Castrated’ Under New Alabama Law

Alabama state lawmakers have passed a bill requiring that child molesters be “chemically castrated” as a condition of being released from prison.

The bill, known as HB379, is now with Gov. Kay Ivey to either be signed or vetoed. 

HB379 would require sex offenders, convicted of abusing children under age 13, to be injected with a testosterone-reducing drug before parole as a means of attempting to deter future predatory behavior. Offenders would be chemically castrated in addition to whatever additional penalties were enforced by the court, according to the measure.

Chemical castration, which is very different from surgical castration or removal of the testes, serves to block the production of certain hormones, including testosterone. The bill defines chemical castration as ”including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that … reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.”

Medroxyprogesterone injections are also used as a form of women’s birth control under the name Depo-Provera.

HB379 also states that offenders would be required to pay for the injection, though they would not be denied parole if they’re unable to pay.

The bill would apply to convicted child sex offenders who are  21 and over, State Rep. Steve Hurst (R), who first introduced the bill, told WIAT-TV. Hurst said he hopes the extreme measure will help deter future crimes — as well as help ease some of the pain experienced by child victims of sexual abuse.

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“[Pedophiles] have marked this child for life, and the punishment should fit the crime,” Hurst told WIAT. “…What’s more inhumane than when you take a little infant child, and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through?”

Hurst attempted to pass this legislation in 2016, but this is the first time the bill has passed both the state House and Senate.

PEOPLE was not immediately able to reach Hurst for comment. 

Though the Alabama bill is seeing more support now, it is likely to be challenged under the 8th Amendment, according to attorney Raymond Johnson who told WIAT, “They’re going to claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has served their time and for the rest of their life has to be castrated,” he told the news station.

A handful of other states including Florida, Louisiana, California, Georgia and more have similar measures in place. However, the ACLU has previously spoken out against chemical castration for prisoners on the grounds of it being considered cruel and unusual.

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