Politics Arkansas legislature overrides veto on transgender health care bill
'Children will die': Transgender advocates warn about risks as more states consider banning gender-affirming care for kids
More states want to copy Arkansas' ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. Experts say such laws endanger lives and ignore science.Now 18 and living in Little Rock, the transgender activist recently testified before lawmakers as part of an effort to try to stop the passage of a proposed state law that, among other things, bans doctors from providing gender-affirming care such as including puberty blockers and hormone therapy to youth under 18. She and others protesting the measure were unsuccessful.
The Arkansas state legislature voted Tuesday to override a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on a bill that would ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender youths in the state.
The House voted 71-24, and the Senate 25-8, to override the governor's veto a day after it was.
The "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act" bars doctors from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender minors, including hormones, puberty blockers and transition-related surgeries.
During a press briefing Monday, Hutchinson called the bill "government overreach," and called on state leaders to rethink the issue again before acting.
Alarm grows over impact of states banning trans youth treatment
Medical experts and LGBT advocates are sounding the alarm over the physical and mental health risks to the transgender community after at least 19 state legislatures, including Arkansas, have proposed or passed bills seeking to ban trans youth treatment. © Getty Images Alarm grows over impact of states banning trans youth treatment Proponents of the bills have argued that the legislation is in place to protect children from making irreversible decisions about their bodies.
"You are starting to let lawmakers interfere with health care and set a standard for legislation overriding health care," the Republican governor said. "The state should not presume to jump into every ethical health decision."
The SAFE Act is one ofintroduced this year that LGTBQ advocates say diminish the rights of transgender Americans. Arkansas is the first state to pass a bill restricting transgender minors access to gender-affirming health care.
LGBTQ rights groups say the legislation, which would go into effect this summer, is unnecessary and detrimental for trans youth. Following the Senate vote, the ACLU, "We are preparing litigation as we speak."
Arkansas lawmakers override Hutchinson veto on transgender youth bill
The Arkansas State Legislature on Tuesday voted to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s (R) veto on the legislation that bans gender reassignment surgeries and other treatments for transgender youth. © Getty Images Arkansas lawmakers override Hutchinson veto on transgender youth bill The majority Republican state House voted 72 to 25 to approve the controversial bill, called HB1570, before sending the legislation back to the Arkansas Senate, which rejected the governor's veto of the bill in a 25-8 vote, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Both chambers required a simple majority to override the veto.
"Attempting to block trans youth from the care they need simply because of who they are is not only wrong, it’s also illegal, and we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge this law in court," Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director, said in a statement. "We are hearing from concerned families all over the state who are afraid about the impact of this bill and others like it. We are committed to doing all we can to support these families and ensure they know how to continue to fight for their rights and get the care and resources they need."
Sponsors say the bill is meant to protect minors, who they say are too young to make decisions on transition-related medical care.
"These children need to be protected," Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum, the lead sponsor of the act, told reporters Monday, The Associated Press.
Doctor: Arkansas anti-trans law is completely unethical
Doctors devote themselves to putting patients' health above their personal beliefs, says Dr. Jack Turban. He argues a new Arkansas law enabling medical professionals to refuse care for so-called "conscience" is completely antithetical to medical ethics.As physicians, my colleagues and I have the honor and privilege to help people through some of the most difficult times of their lives. Along with this privilege come some challenging situations. Once at three in the morning, I was paged to see a patient going through alcohol withdrawal. The moment I walked into his room, he grabbed my pager from my scrubs and threw it against the wall. He screamed homophobic slurs in my face.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David called the SAFE Act "deeply dangerous" and that it would prevent children from seeking potentially lifesaving treatments.
"By overriding the veto on this legislation, Arkansas would put itself in the lead of a race to the bottom, fueled by fear and disinformation," he said during a press briefing Tuesday ahead of the vote.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has spoken out against bills like the SAFE Act that target transgender youth.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that youth who identify as transgender have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space," AAP President Dr. Lee Savio Beers said in a statement last month. "[The] legislation would allow policymakers rather than pediatricians to determine the best course of care for our patients, and in some medically underserved states, it could mean losing an already limited number of pediatric practitioners who care for transgender youth."
ABC News' Meg Cunningham and Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.
Arkansas passes bill to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth .
Chase Strangio of the ACLU said it's the “single most extreme anti-trans law to ever pass through a state legislature.” The bill is one of two types of legislation being considered in more than two dozen states: measures that ban or restrict access to gender-affirming care for trans minors, and those that ban trans young people from competing in school sports teams of their gender identity.Governors in three states — Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee — have signed trans athlete bans into law.In addition to Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee are also advancing restrictions on gender-affirming care.