Arkansas governor vetoes bill banning care for trans youth, citing doctors’ concerns
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) vetoed a bill Monday that would severely hamper access to care for transgender kids, citing opposition from medical experts and doctors.
The bill would have banned doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, hormone therapies and other gender-affirming care to transgender people under the age of 18.
Leading medical organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and others opposed the proposal, citing the negative health impacts kids who don’t have access to a gender-affirming care experience.
“If (the bill) becomes law, we are creating a new standard of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people,” Hutchinson said at a press conference Monday.
He cited medical associations that told him the bill could lead to “significant harm to young persons, from suicidal tendencies and social isolation to increased drug use.”
“It would put the state as the definitive oracle of medical care, overriding parents, patients and healthcare experts,” he said.
Hutchinson noted that the state Legislature likely has the support needed to override the veto, but said he hopes his actions will “cause conservative Republican legislators to think through the issue again.”
The bill passed by the Arkansas Legislature is part of a wave of state bills targeting gender-affirming care for transgender youth.