On Tuesday, Arkansas lawmakers officially made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth. The Associated Press reports “The Republican-controlled House and Senate voted to override GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the measure, which prohibits doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.”
Governor Hutchinson initially vetoed the bill “following please from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide” reports the AP.
Proponents of the measure say the procedures are experimentation when it comes to minors and compared restrictions to other limitations states place upon minors. “They need to get to be 18 before they make those decisions,” Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum said.
Those who oppose the ban have vowed to sue before it takes effect this summer. Opponents include “several medical and child welfare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics” reports the AP. The law is to take effect no earlier than late July, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said it plans to challenge the measure before then.
Governor Hutchinson stated he vetoed the measure because it went too far in interfering with parents’ and physicians’ decisions. He was also concerned that it will cut off care for the transgender youth in the middle of their treatments. He added he would have supported and signed the bill if it had only focused on gender-confirming surgery, which currently is not performed on minors in the state.