Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Arkansas becomes first U.S. state to ban treatments for transgender youth

WorldApr 06, 2021 07:05PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Arkansas' governor, Hutchinson, pictured speaking in 2016

By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) - Arkansas on Tuesday became the first U.S. state to ban certain types of treatment to transgender youth, overriding a veto by Governor Asa Hutchinson and inviting lawsuits from civil rights groups that have vowed to stop it.

The law threatens any healthcare professional who provides puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or gender-affirming surgery to minors with losing their medical license and opens them up to lawsuits from patients who later regret their procedures.

At least 16 other states are considering similar legislation, which transgender advocates have attacked, saying that cutting off badly needed care to adolescents would inevitably lead to more suicides.

The healthcare bills are among dozens of others introduced across the country that would limit transgender rights in what critics have called unconstitutional attempts to animate the right wing in the U.S. culture war.

But proponents of the bills, nearly all Republican, say they want to protect kids from medical procedures they will later regret.

They also accuse transgender advocates of minimizing the side effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, and point to the small number of cases where transgender people reverse their decision to transition.

Hutchinson, a Republican in his second and final term, had vetoed the legislation on Monday, calling it "a vast government overreach."

But the Arkansas House voted 71 to 24 on Tuesday to override the veto, followed shortly thereafter by the Senate, 25 to eight. The bill will become law 90 days after the end of the legislative session, which is currently scheduled to end on April 30.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 67,000 pediatricians, was among the medical organizations to oppose the bill, saying it would cut off trans kids from needed medical care and needlessly increase their already high risk of suicide.

"Today Arkansas legislators disregarded widespread, overwhelming, and bipartisan opposition to this bill and continued their discriminatory crusade against trans youth," said Holly Dickson, director of the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has vowed to challenge the law in court.

Experts say each step in a transgender child or adolescent's treatment is undertaken with the consultation of doctors, therapists and social workers, often over months if not years.

Those who consistently identify as transgender can be prescribed puberty blockers. Others graduate to cross-sex hormone therapy, a more serious commitment to transitioning. A small number opt for some type of surgery with parental consent, but experts say those cases for minors are extremely rare.

"There's tons of solid science supporting this approach. There's a general consensus among professionals in this field and in professionals in health and mental health fields in general," said Madeline Deutsch, medical director for transgender care at University of California, San Francisco.

But a minority of dissenters such as the American College of Pediatricians, representing 600 healthcare professionals, contend that with time and counseling transgender people will revert to their sex assigned at birth.

"We are basically being blackmailed (into providing hormone treatments) by that adolescent who's emotionally troubled into doing something that they don't understand," said Quentin Van Meter, president of the group. "A 13-year-old cannot wrap their head around the concept of building a biological family in their later years."

Arkansas becomes first U.S. state to ban treatments for transgender youth

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email