The Arkansas House and Senate overrode Governor Asa Hutchinson's veto of House Bill 1570 on Tuesday. The bill, one of 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in the US, is the first of its kind to become law. Its main purpose is to deny transgender youth the necessary, gender-affirming services to help them transition, including hormone treatment, puberty blockers, and gender-affirming surgery. It also prohibits doctors from referring them to other, outside providers for their treatment.
From Los Angeles Blade:
"Despite opposition from even their own anti-LGBTQ governor, Arkansas legislators have denied transgender children access to medically-necessary and age-appropriate health care," said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David.
"This is the first law of its kind anywhere in the country, and it is immeasurably cruel to the transgender children who already suffer from higher risks of anxiety, depression, body dysphoria, and suicidal ideation and for whom those risks will only increase without medical care. This broadly unpopular bill is anti-science and dismisses the medical expertise of a wide range of child welfare advocates, " he said.
"Arkansas legislators, against the will of Governor Hutchinson, are not only inviting irreparable harm to their state's transgender youth, but also economic and reputational consequences to all Arkansans," David added.
While the law is set to take effect in late July, the ACLU has stated that it plans to challenge the bill before that time.
"This discriminatory bill, peddled by national anti-equality extremists is a cruel and shameful way for legislators to score political points by targeting transgender youth who are simply trying to navigate their adolescense,"said HRC Arkansas State Manager Eric Reece.
"Transgender youth deserve to be included and accepted, especially as we see an uptick in fatal violence against transgender people across the country. We need to end this epidemic and ensure that all transgender Arkansans have access to the life-saving, gender affirming medical care they need."