Arkansas overrules the governor’s veto and bans treatments for transgender youth
April 6 (Reuters) – The Arkansas House and Senate voted Tuesday to override a veto by Governor Asa Hutchinson, making Arkansas the first US state to prohibit doctors from providing certain types of care to transgender youth.
At least 16 other states are considering similar legislation, which has attacked transgender advocates, saying cutting off much-needed adolescent care would inevitably lead to more suicides. Civil rights organizations have also pledged to sue to stop such measures.
But the mostly Republican proponents of the bills say they want to protect children from medical procedures they will later regret.
They also accuse transgender advocates of minimizing the side effects of puberty blockers and sex hormones, which are prohibited by law for minors. Proponents of the law also point to the small number of cases where transgender people reverse their decision to switch as a reason why minors should be protected.
Hutchinson, a Republican in his second and final term, vetoed the legislation on Monday, calling it “a massive government overrun.”
But he also called it well-intentioned, saying he expected an alternate vote after both houses had previously passed the bill by an overwhelming majority.
The House voted 71 to 24 on Tuesday to override the veto, followed shortly after by the Senate, 25 to eight. Only a simple majority was needed in each chamber. The bill will go into effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session, which is currently scheduled to end April 30. (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; edited by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)