Arkansas lawmakers banned gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, according to AP News.
The Republican-controlled House and Senate voted to override GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the measure.
Doctors providing confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment is now prohibited.
Hutchinson vetoed the bill Monday following pleas 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.
“This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth,” Dr. Robert Garofalo, division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, told reporters on a press conference call held by the Human Rights Campaign. “They’re not just anti-trans. They’re anti-science. They’re anti-public health.”
“They need to get to be 18 before they make those decisions,” Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum said.
Hutchinson argues that the measure went too far in interfering with parents and physicians, and noted that it will cut off care for transgender youth already receiving treatment.
“This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over — and we’re in it for the long haul,” Holly Dickson said.
“This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state,” Tom Walton said.
“What I see, this bill, is the most powerful again bullying the most vulnerable people in our state,” Democratic Sen. Clarke Tucker said.
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The ban was enacted during a year in which bills targeting transgender people have advanced easily in Arkansas and other states. Hutchinson recently signed legislation banning transgender women and girls from competing on teams consistent with their gender identity, a prohibition that also has been enacted in Tennessee and Mississippi this year.
Hutchinson also recently signed legislation that allows doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections.
And the Legislature isn’t showing signs of letting up. Another bill advanced by a House committee earlier Tuesday would prevent schools from requiring teachers to refer to students by their preferred pronouns or titles.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights group, said more than 100 bills have been filed in statehouses around the country targeting the transgender community. Similar treatment bans have been proposed in at least 20 states.