Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Court blocks Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth

Illustration of a child in silhouette holding a transgender pride flag over their shoulders like a cape

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the enforcement of an Arkansas law that criminalizes gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth.

The big picture: The legislation is among the first of its kind to pass in a state legislature. It forbids doctors from providing access to hormone treatments and puberty blockers to anyone under the age of 18.

  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) vetoed the bill, calling it "extreme" government overreach, before the legislature overrode his veto. The law was set to take effect on July 28.

State of play: The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in May asking a U.S. district judge to strike down the law, arguing that it violates the First Amendment and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, per The 19th.

  • The ACLU added that the ban would harm transgender youth in the state. The organization filed the lawsuit on behalf of four transgender youths and two doctors who provide gender-affirming treatments.

What they're saying: "This ruling sends a clear message to states across the country that gender-affirming care is life-saving care, and we won’t let politicians in Arkansas — or anywhere else — take it away," said Holly Dickson, executive director of the Arkansas ACLU, in a statement.

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