Kay Ivey, the Republican governor of Alabama signed the bill into law Tuesday.
"If they're going to mark these children for life, they need to be marked for life," said Steve Hurst, the Alabama state representative who introduced the bill.
The procedure is reversible but should start at least a month before the harasser is released from jail and would last as long as the judge in charge thinks it necessary.
The American Civil Liberties Association’s (ACLU) local branch said that the law is “a return, if you will, to the dark ages.”
"It certainly presents serious issues about involuntary medical treatment, informed consent, the right to privacy, and cruel and unusual punishment,” Randall Marshall, the executive director of the local branch said.
Alabama, however, is not the only state in the U.S. with this punishment. Some form of castration for sexual offenders is allowed in California, Florida, Guam, Louisiana, Montana, and Wisconsin. California became the first state to allow chemical castration for sex offenders when it passed a law in the mid-1990s. In most cases, however, castration is voluntary and optional.
Legislation to restrict abortion rights has been introduced this year in 16 states; four governors have signed abortion bans that prohibit the procedure if an embryonic heartbeat is detected.
The Alabama bill goes further, banning abortions regardless of the time. Anyone caught performing abortions would be committing a felony, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison, although a woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.
The only exception will be in cases protecting the mother’s health.