Apr 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Arkansas Senate overrides Republican governor's veto on bill targeting trans kids

Asa Hutchinson speaks into a microphone while wearing a suit.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arkansas' Republican-controlled House and Senate on Tuesday overrode GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto of a bill that criminalizes gender-affirming care for transgender children.

Why it matters: The bill, which is among the first of its kind in the U.S. to pass amid a record-breaking number of legislation targeting trans children, was harshly rebuked by the governor as an "extreme" government overreach.

  • The legislation, which would ban access to hormone treatments and puberty blockers, is also opposed by national medical associations.

What they're saying: In a call with reporters earlier on Tuesday, Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David denounced the bill as "so extremely unpopular, that even after signing other anti-LGBTQ and anti-transgender bills into law, the governor balked."

  • Parents of transgender kids are "afraid if these bills pass, they could lose their children, and their children could die," Jack Turban, a fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he researches the mental health of transgender youth, said on the call.

What to watch: The ACLU says it is preparing a lawsuit against the legislation.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the ACLU's statement.

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