What Arkansas' 'Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act' Means for State's Trans Youth
The ACLU and prominent doctors have slammed the bill, calling it dangerous.
On Monday, just two days before Trans Day of Visibility, the Arkansas Senate passed a bill that would ban access to gender-affirming care for transgender youths under 18, including reversible puberty blockers and hormones, NBC News reported.
The HB 1570 bill, dubbed "Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act," is now in the hands of Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson. He could veto the bill but if he does not, his state will become the first in the country to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth.
The three major parts of the bill would ban puberty blockers, which pause adolescence temporarily so trans minors along with their parents and doctors can decide the next best course of action when they are older. The blockers are reversible and are harmless.
The bill would also ban gender-affirming surgeries like “bottom” or “top” procedures, as well as facial operations to make one look more masculine or feminine depending how they wish to identify.
The bill would also ban Hormone Replacement Therapy, which is prescribed to change someone’s body to the gender they identify with.
CNN reported that 28 states are considering anti-trans bills, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). While many have not become law, three states including Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas have already been passed and signed by state governors this month.
"This has been a significant part of my work at the ACLU for the past six years and I've never seen anything like this," Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, told CNN. "There have never been this many bills targeting trans youth voted out of committee and then making it to the floor."
The ACLU slammed Arkansas HB1570 bill on Twitter Monday, saying, “HB 1570 was just passed through both chambers in the Arkansas legislature, banning trans youth from accessing health care and health insurance coverage that we deserve and need. Our rights and lives are under attack. Governor Hutchinson must veto this bill.”
The bill also got flack from a prominent doctor, who calls it dangerous.
"You are literally denying access to medical care that's lifesaving, and, even more, you're actually making it a felony for these kids to seek out the care to live their lives in the most authentic and real way," Dr. Alann Weissman-Ward, Medical Director for Plume, told Insider.
Dr. Michele Hutchison, a pediatric doctor in Arkansas, testified in front of the state Senate on March 22 during hearings, that just after the bill passed in the House, he saw “multiple kids in our emergency room because of an attempted suicide, just in the last week.”
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