Arkansas Bans Transgender Surgery, Hormones on Kids


On Tuesday, April 6, the legislature of Arkansas State overrode a veto of a bill by the governor that bans gender transition procedures for children and teenagers. A day earlier, the governor had rejected the same bill. This is the first state to institute the ban.

The bill was known as the "Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act".  After passing the state House 71-24 and the Senate, 25-8, it became law. One of the sponsors of the bill, state Rep. Robin Lundstrum, said,

"Our children stand as pawns right now. They're minors and they're children and they need to be protected from the medical profession. Even medicine sometimes is wrong. We should never experiment on children. Ever."

The bill states: "A physician or other healthcare professional shall not provide gender transition procedures to any individual under eighteen (18) years of age." It defines "gender transition procedures" as the use of puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, or "genital or non-genital gender reassignment surgery performed for the purpose of assisting an individual with a gender transition." 

The license of doctors and other medical personnel who breach the new law could be withdrawn. Individuals who are not comfortable with the law are expected to file suit to try and overturn the new law. On Monday, the bill was vetoed by GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Republicans control the House and Senate.

"Arkansas has a compelling government interest in protecting the health and safety of its citizens, especially vulnerable children," the bill's legislative findings say.

The bill cites studies that say the majority of gender-nonconforming children "come to identify with their biological sex in adolescence or adulthood, thereby rendering most physiological interventions unnecessary."

The use of cross-sex hormones was criticized by legislative findings saying there have been "no randomized clinical trials" examining "the efficacy or safety" of cross-sex hormones in adults or children "for the purpose of treating such distress or gender transition."

In addition, the legislative findings affirmed that society's embrace of transgenderism has not benefited those who identify as transgender. The legislative findings say;

"Even among people who have undergone inpatient gender reassignment procedures, suicide rates, psychiatric morbidities, and mortality rates remain markedly elevated above the background population."

President of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, praised the legislature for passing the bill. He called it a "victory for children."

"The state of Arkansas has taken the lead in the race to protect children from a political movement that advocates for using off-label drugs and experimental procedures on minors," Perkins said.

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