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Arkansas, first US state to prohibit treatment of trans minors | International

The Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, in a 2016 image, during his participation in the Republican Convention, in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, in a 2016 image, during his participation in the Republican Convention, in Cleveland, Ohio.Jim Young / Reuters

Arkansas has become the first territory in the United States to legally ban hormonal, blocking, or gender reassignment treatments. The rule went ahead in the state legislature, with a large Republican majority, last week, but the state governor, also Republican Asa Hutchinson, vetoed it this Monday, when he arrived at his table for the final signature, considering that it constitutes a “great government overreach” on the decisions of families and doctors. This Tuesday, both the Senate and the state House returned to vote and overcame the governor’s veto.

Arkansas is just one of the many battles over the rights of the trans community open in the country, where Republican legislators from at least 17 states promote different legislation on the treatment of minors. Hutchinson had signed other regulations in this area, such as the one that prevents trans girls from competing in girls’ school sports or the one that allows doctors to refuse to offer the treatments on the grounds of their religious or conscientious objection. In fact, as he explained on Monday when justifying his veto, on this occasion he would also have been willing to sign the rule if the text had been limited only to prohibiting sex reassignment surgery in minors, a practice that, in any case, neither takes place in the State.

“This bill is extreme, excessive and does not exempt young people who are already receiving treatment. These young people will be left without treatment when this law comes into force, ”argued the governor, who stressed that he had made the decision after consulting with doctors and transgender people in the state.

This Tuesday, with 72 votes in favor compared to 25 against in the lower house, and 25 against eight in the Senate, legislators overturned that veto. The 1570 rule will take effect in July, but the great American Civil Liberties and Rights Association (ACLU) has already advanced that it will take it to court. “This decision ignores dozens of local doctors, national medical experts, as well as trans youth and their parents,” the organization said in a statement.

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