Judge Strikes Down Arkansas Transgender Law

2021 law banned treatments for trans youth
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 6, 2021 3:23 PM CDT
Updated Jun 20, 2023 4:19 PM CDT
Arkansas Lawmakers Override Governor on Transgender Law
In this April 8, 2020 photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson gives the State of the State address in the senate chamber of the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark.   (Tommy Metthe/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)
UPDATE Jun 20, 2023 4:19 PM CDT

A federal judge struck down Arkansas' first-in-the-nation ban on gender-affirming care for children as unconstitutional Tuesday, the first ruling to overturn such a prohibition as a growing number of Republican-led states adopt similar restrictions. US District Judge Jay Moody issued a permanent injunction against the Arkansas law, which would have prohibited doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18, the AP reports. In his order, Moody, who temporarily blocked the law in 2021, ruled that the prohibition violated the due process and equal protection rights of transgender youth and families. He said the law also violated the First Amendment rights of medical providers by prohibiting them from referring patients elsewhere.

Apr 6, 2021 3:23 PM CDT

Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, enacting the prohibition over the governor's objections. 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, the AP reports. Hutchinson vetoed the bill 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

The ban was opposed by several medical and child welfare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. The measure's sponsor referred to the procedures as experimentation and compared the restriction to other limits the state places on minors. "They need to get to be 18 before they make those decisions," Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum said. Hutchinson said 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. He said he would have signed the bill if it had focused only on gender confirming surgery, which currently isn’t performed on minors in the state. Opponents of the measure have vowed to sue to block the ban before it takes effect this summer.

(More Arkansas stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.