Victory: Arkansas Governor Hutchinson Vetoes Ban on Gender Affirming Care for Trans Youth

In a surprise turnabout, Arkansas’ governor on Monday vetoed a ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, calling the legislation a “vast government overreach” and a “product of the cultural war in America.”

According to the Washington Post: Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said that if signed into law, the bill would interfere with physicians and parents “as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people.”

The bill, which is part of a wave of similar legislation across the country, would have banned doctors from providing transgender minors with gender-affirming treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapies and transition-related surgeries, and from referring them for such treatments. Republican lawmakers in at least 17 other states have introduced similar bans on medical treatments for transgender minors, despite opposition from major pediatric and psychiatric organizations.

“I’m hopeful, though, that my action will cause conservative Republican legislators to think through the issue again and hopefully come up with a more restrained approach,” Hutchinson said.

Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the American Civil Liberties Union, had called the bill “the single most extreme anti-trans law to ever pass through a state legislature.” But on Monday, he applauded the governor for his decision, tweeting: “I am crying. It will be hard to sustain but this is SO MEANINGFUL.”