The Arkansas legislature voted Tuesday to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on legislation that will block a minor from receiving transgender drugs and gender transition surgeries.
Lawmakers in the Arkansas House voted 71-24, and in the Senate 25-8, to override Hutchinson’s veto just one day after he held a press conference explaining his decision.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers enact ban on gender confirming treatments, surgery for transgender youth, overriding governor.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) April 6, 2021
The vote to override makes Arkansas the first state to ban transgender drugs and surgeries for young people.
“(The bill) simply protects minors from being preyed upon and pressured into making adult decisions before they are ready,” said Arkansas Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R), the lead sponsor of the measure, as reported by the Fort Smith Times Record. “Those who claim otherwise are not being honest, and either haven’t read the bill or are placing fundraising above the best interest of children.”
HB 1570, the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act prohibits doctors from providing transgender drugs, such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, to minors, as well as gender transition surgeries, such as elective double mastectomies.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned the override vote in a tweet, stating, “We are preparing litigation as we speak.”
This decision ignores dozens of local doctors, national medical experts, as well as trans youth and their parents.
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 6, 2021
Alphonso David, president of LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign tweeted that, with the override vote, Arkansas “has put itself in the lead of a race to the bottom fueled by fear & disinformation.”
“But this fight is not over,” he added. “We will utilize every available tool to fight for the rights & futures of trans and non-binary youth and their families.”
By overriding the veto on #HB1570, Arkansas has put itself in the lead of a race to the bottom fueled by fear & disinformation. But this fight is not over. We will utilize every available tool to fight for the rights & futures of trans and non-binary youth and their families. https://t.co/P2MpCifN5F
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) April 6, 2021
Family Research Council (FRC), which supported the legislation and the override vote, noted in a tweet that Hutchinson said at the end of his press conference Monday, “Image is always important for a governor.”
“Perhaps, image—not protecting children—drove his decision to veto a bill that would have saved Arkansas’s kids from a lifetime of misery,” FRC said.
“Image is always important for a governor,” Ark. Gov. Hutchinson admitted in Monday press conference on the SAFE Act. Perhaps, image—not protecting children—drove his decision to veto a bill that would have saved Arkansas’s kids from a lifetime of misery. https://t.co/OOlogWWJ64
— Family Research Council (@FRCdc) April 6, 2021
Hutchinson said the bill was “well-intended, but off course.”
“While in some instances, the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human, and ethical issue,” the governor said in explaining his decision to veto the bill. “This would be, and is, a vast government overreach.”
He added that some of Arkansas’ medical associations opposed the legislation.
“[T]he concern expressed is that denying best medical care to transgender youth can lead to significant harm to the young person, from suicidal tendencies and social isolation, to increased drug use,” he said, adding that he would sign the bill if it simply banned gender reassignment surgeries.
Nevertheless, as Breitbart News reported, at least one study that claimed to conclude individuals experience mental health benefits following transgender surgeries was found to be erroneous.
The American Journal of Psychiatry noted the authors of an original study retracted their conclusion after numerous requests for a reanalysis of the data led to the corrected findings.
Following reanalysis, the study’s conclusion was that neither “gender-affirming hormone treatment” nor “gender-affirming surgery” decreased the need for mental health services of those claiming to be transgender.
Additionally, Hutchinson did not appear to acknowledge the research that has shown once children are administered puberty blockers, most go on to insist on cross-sex hormones, which are likely to render them sterile.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, observed during a Heritage Foundation webinar how the surge in activism in the lucrative field of transgender medicine has led to the “gaslighting” of many more children and teens.
Studies show, she explained, that nearly 100 percent of children who are given puberty blockers to stop normal puberty then go on to request cross-sex hormones, “which means we are sterilizing a great number of emotionally troubled youth.”
“And we already have girls, physically healthy girls, who are being referred for double mastectomies at age 13,” she asserted. “This is institutionalized child abuse. We’re taking emotionally troubled youth, psychologically abusing them by reinforcing their gender, sexual confusion, and then experimenting on them with toxic drugs and mutilating surgeries.”