Arkansas Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto On Transgender Treatments Ban For Minors
Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Hutchinson discussed what Arkansas is doing to brace for more severe flooding in the state. Photographer:
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Arkansas Legislature voted Tuesday afternoon to ban minors from receiving gender reassignment services from medical providers, including hormone treatments and puberty blockers, overriding the GOP governor’s veto of the proposal the day before. 

“The House voted 71-24, and the Senate 25-8, to override the governor’s veto a day after it was announced,” ABC News reported on the development Tuesday afternoon. 

Only the day before, two-term Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) had vetoed the proposal — dubbed the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act — out of concern it was too far-reaching and overly broad. The proposal would have banned doctors from providing minors with various gender-reassignment treatments in addition to referrals for them. It also would have banned doctors from referring minors for gender-reassignment surgeries. 

“I don’t shy away from the battle when it is necessary and defensible, but the most recent action of the general assembly, while well-intended, is off-course and I must veto,” said Hutchinson. 

The law would have been the first state-wide law of its kind in the United States and will go into effect in July, according to The Associated Press. The American Civil Liberties Union has since announced that they plan to file a lawsuit. 

During a press conference Monday, Hutchinson noted that doctors in Arkansas do not perform gender-reassignment surgeries on minors. He also remarked: “House bill 1570 is opposed by the leading Arkansas associations, and the concern expressed is that denying best medical care to transgender youth can lead to significant harm to the young person from suicidal tendencies and social isolation to increased drug use.”

As The Daily Wire previously reported: 

The bill, argued Hutchinson, would’ve created “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people.” Hutchinson said such minors should have “the guiding hand of their parents and of the health-care professionals that their family has chosen.”

“House bill 1570 would put the state as the definitive oracle of medical care, overriding parents, patients and healthcare experts,” he said. “While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human and ethical issue. This would be, and is, a vast government overreach.”

Hutchinson, who acknowledged his veto would likely be overridden, expressed concern over the lack of grandfather clause in the bill, saying that “the young people who are currently under a doctor’s care will be without treatment when this law goes into effect.”

The second-term Arkansas governor recently signed a law prohibiting biological males from competing in women’s sports at the high school and collegiate level, and reiterated his support for doing so in his press conference on Monday. “I’m a fan of women’s sports, and I think it undermined women’s sports to have biological males to compete in girls sports in high school or college,” remarked Hutchinson.

Related: Arkansas Bans Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

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