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ACLU lawsuit challenges Arkansas trans youth treatment ban

The Republican Legislature last month enacted the ban, overriding a veto by GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to strike down a new Arkansas law that made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments or surgery for transgender youth.  

The ACLU on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the new prohibition that’s set to take effect on July 28.

The law prohibits doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment. 

“This law would be devastating to trans youth and their families, forcing many to uproot their lives and leave the state to access the gender-affirming care they need,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “Gender-affirming care is life-saving care for our clients, and they’re terrified of what will happen if this law is allowed to take effect. No child should be cut off from the medical care they need or denied their fundamental right to be themselves — but this law would do both. We’re suing to stop this cruel and unconstitutional law from taking effect and inflicting further harm on these children and their families.”

The Republican Legislature last month enacted the ban, overriding a veto by GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson. 

The Family Council, a conservative think tank based in Little Rock, released the following statement about the lawsuit:

It is disappointing that the ACLU would sue the state of Arkansas over a law that protects children from experimentation. Gender-reassignment surgeries can leave children sterilized and scarred for life. Just earlier this month, one of Sweden’s leading hospitals stopped giving puberty and cross-sex hormones to children under the age of 16 stating that the treatments should be regarded as “experimental.”  Arkansas’ law protects children from these sex-reassignment procedures.

Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not authorized puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to be used for gender-reassignment. The FDA has never approved puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the purpose of gender transition. Doctors are giving children these drugs off-label. They are having children use these drugs in a way that the FDA never intended.

Arkansas is blessed to have an Attorney General that has already said that she will defend this law vigorously in court. It is a sad day in Arkansas when the ACLU goes to court using children to defend their messaging of experimenting on children when the Arkansas legislature led the nation this year by passing the first law of its kind which protects all of our children from chemical and surgical experimentation.

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