Arkansas Republicans Vote to Criminalize Surgery for Transgender Youth, Censor Doctors’ Free Speech Rights

The Republican-controlled House and Senate in Arkansas voted to override GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto and pushed through a bill that bans surgery for transgender youth, notes The Associated Press.

Doctors are not allowed to perform hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, and are banned from even speaking about other ways to find providers.

The right wing ban on medical science was opposed by several medical medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Robert Garofalo, division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, told reporters on a press conference call that Republicans oppose science and health:

This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth. They’re not just anti-trans. They’re anti-science. They’re anti-public health.

Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum, who does not have a medical background, falsely claimed the bill that she sponsored does not deny medical care even though it does, reports the Arkansas Times.

Lundstrum cited the backing of right wing organizations and (science-denying bigot) Franklin Graham for the passage of the bill that criminalizes medical care.

Democrat Rep. Tippi McCullough thanked children, parents and doctors for speaking up in opposition to the bill:

I do not think these children need to be protected from their own parents. Search your own heart and think about these parents and their children and their doctors.

Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas’ executive director, said the group would file a legal challenge before the bill goes into effect in late July:

Today Arkansas legislators disregarded widespread, overwhelming, and bipartisan opposition to this bill and continued their discriminatory crusade against trans youth. As Governor Hutchinson noted in his veto message, denying care to trans youth can lead to harmful and life-threatening consequences. This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over — and we’re in it for the long haul. Attempting to block trans youth from the care they need simply because of who they are is not only wrong, it’s also illegal, and we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge this law in court. We are hearing from concerned families all over the state who are afraid about the impact of this bill and others like it. We are committed to doing all we can to support these families and ensure they know how to continue to fight for their rights and get the care and resources they need.

(Sources: The Associated Press, Arkansas Times)

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