• The bill calls for surgical castration of both male and female sex offenders.
• Nine states currently allow some form of castration for sex offenders.
• Experts warn that it doesn't necessarily prevent future abuse.
An Alabama state representative has introduced a bill to require surgical castration of adult sex offenders who target children.
"They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime," state Rep. Steve Hurst (R) told WIAT-TV after filing the bill last week.
HB 365 would force these sex offenders to undergo surgical castration before being released from prison. The punishment would apply to both male and female offenders who at the age of 21 or older sexually victimized children age 12 or younger.
This isn't the first time Hurst has tried to pass this legislation. In 2013, he proposed a similar bill, which failed.
"I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said, 'Don’t you think this is inhumane?'" the lawmaker said, according to WIAT-TV. "I asked them, '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?' If you want to talk about inhumane, that's inhumane."
There is precedent for this kind of punishment: Nine other states have laws that allow male sex offenders to be chemically castrated.
Before being released from prison following punishment for their second offense, California requires child molesters who have harmed kids under the age of 13 to be treated with depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, a female birth control drug sold under the brand name Depo-Provera that also reduces male sexual function.
Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin also have chemical castration statutes. Florida and California are the only states to require such treatment for repeat sex offenders.
But if Hurst's bill passes, Alabama would stand out as the only state to call for female sex offenders to undergo genital mutilation.
Under the proposed legislation, the cost of the surgery would be paid by the offenders.
Experts on castration as punishment say that the procedure can be effective in reducing sex drive, but that it does nothing to rehabilitate the mental state of sex offenders. In addition, groups like Amnesty International have called forced castration inhumane and a violation of United Nations human rights treaties.