Arkansas Gov. Vetos gender-affriming bill

Arkansas Gov. Vetoes Bill Banning Medical Treatments for Trans Youths

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a proposed bill to ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths.

If the bill has been approved, it would have become illegal for doctors to provide transgender minors with gender-affirming treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapies and transition-related surgeries.

Doctors would also be banned from referring them to such services and is punishable with up to 10 years in jail.

The Republican senator called the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act, or SAFE Act, “a vast government overreach.”

Similar bills have been introduced in at least 17 other states.

He expressed that such a bill would drive transgender youths seeking medical treatment underground.

“The bill is overbroad, extreme and does not grandfather those young people who are currently under hormone treatment,” Hutchinson said. “The young people who are currently under a doctor’s care will be without treatment when this law goes into effect. That means they will be looking to the black market or go out of state … to find the treatment that they want and need. This is not the right path to put them on.”

However, Hutchinson did acknowledge that the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly would likely override the veto.

“I am hopeful, though, that my action will cause conservative Republican legislators to think through the issue again and hopefully come up with a more restrained approach that allows a thoughtful study of the science and ethics surrounding the issue before acting,” he said.

Charisse Dean, the governmental affairs assistant with the Family Council, is in favor of the bill.

“We believe it’s important to have a bill like this in place because we need certain protections for children,” Dean said. “Already in our law there are protections in children to where they aren’t allowed to even come home from the hospital without the safety of a car seat, they aren’t allowed to purchase cigarettes, alcohol, or purchase any sort of illicit drugs.”

She added: “There is nothing like this law in place already. If this law is to be overridden, it will be the first in the country and Arkansas will be a trailblazer when it comes to protecting children from these harmful gender reassignment procedures.”

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