Arkansas Senate OKs ban on treatments for transgender youth

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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