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Court hears arguments on Arkansas trans youth treatment ban

Wednesday, June 15, oral arguments on whether to block Arkansas' ban on gender-confirming medical care for transgender youth went before federal judges.

ARKANSAS, USA — A decision on whether or not transgender youth can receive gender-confirming care is now up to the courts. It stems from a house bill written last year banning gender-confirming medical care for transgender youth. Not long after a temporary injunction was filed, and now an appeal has been filed. 

Both sides say they just want to protect kids.

House Bill 1570, also known as the "Safe Act," bans gender-confirming medical care for transgender youth.

"It just says you have to be over 18 to participate in that process," said District 87 State Representative Robin Lundstrum.

Lundstrum represents parts of Benton and Washington Counties. She wrote the bill and lawmakers passed the ban last summer, overriding a veto from the governor.

"Gender affirming healthcare, is lifesaving healthcare," said an ALCU spokesperson. They say this is why it filed a preliminary injunction against the ban.

"Bans on gender-affirming health care, it makes it difficult for people who are seeking that health care. And it does take a toll on their mental health," an ALCU spokesperson said.

The state is fighting back on the appeal, bringing the case to court.

"We don't experiment on children,” Lundstrum said. “So, I ran this bill not because it's popular, but because it's the right thing to do."

The ban is now in the hands of a three-judge panel at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"These are big-time, long-term decisions that are impacting kids’ health forever," Lundstrum said.

A decision the ALCU of Arkansas says should be left up to the child and their family, not the government.

"Because it's true to who they are. They know themselves best out of anyone," a spokesperson said.

"You don't even know what you want to be when you grow up, but you want to change your whole bodily function," Lundstrum said. "We don't allow kids to drink alcohol, we don't allow kids to vote. because mentally and physically you got to be able to participate and understand long-term consequences."

Both sides say they want to protect kids.

As both sides await the panel’s ruling, the ACLU of Arkansas says this case will also go on to a final trial in October.

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