HealthDay News — Arkansas on Tuesday became the first state to ban gender-confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, but opponents say they will take legal action to halt the ban before it is scheduled to take effect in late July.
Under the ban, doctors cannot provide gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers, or surgery to anyone younger than age 18 years and cannot refer them to other health care providers for the treatment, the Associated Press reported.
The ban became law after the Republican-controlled House and Senate voted to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the bill, which is opposed by several medical and child welfare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. Critics say the ban will harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide, while the measure’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum, claims the procedures are experimental and compared the ban to other restrictions the state places on minors, the AP reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union is one of the groups planning to challenge the ban. “This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over — and we’re in it for the long haul,” Holly Dickson, the executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said in a statement, the AP reported.