Arkansas Senate OKs ban on treatments for transgender youth

Arkansas

A proposed ban on transgender athletes playing female school sports in Utah would affect transgender girls like this 12-year-old swimmer. She and her family spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to avoid outing her publicly. She cried when she heard about the proposal that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public high schools, which would separate her from her friends. She’s far from the tallest girl on her team, and has worked hard to improve her times but is not a dominant swimmer in her age group, her coach said. “Other than body parts I’ve been a girl my whole life,” she said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Senate on Monday approved banning gender confirming treatments for minors, sending the governor a restriction on transgender youth that has been criticized by medical and child welfare groups.

The Senate voted 28-7 in favor of the legislation. If the bill is enacted it would be the first prohibition of its kind in the country, opponents say. The bill would prohibit doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment or surgery to minors, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has not said whether he supports the measure. He has five days, not counting Sunday, after the bill reaches his desk to sign or veto the legislation before it becomes law without his signature.

The measure is among several targeting transgender people that have advanced in Arkansas and other states this year. Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have enacted measures prohibiting transgender girls and women from competing in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

Hutchinson on Friday signed a law that would allow doctors to refuse to treat someone because of religious or moral objections, a move that opponents say could be used to turn away LGBTQ patients.

Opponents of the measure include the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Civil Liberties Union said it plans legal action to block the treatments ban if it’s signed into law.

If signed, the ban would take effect later this summer.

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