General News

ACLU sues Arkansas over trans healthcare ban

Rachel Badham May 29, 2021

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the state of Arkansas on behalf of six plaintiffs, four of which are families and two of which are medical professionals, following the success of House Bill 1570, which will prevent young trans people from accessing gender-affirming healthcare. Although the bill was rejected by governor Asa Hutchinson, the House and Senate voted to override his decision.

The new regulations are due to go into effect on July 1, with the lawsuit aiming to prevent this from happening. In a 47-page complaint, ACLU said HB 1570 will have “have devastating consequences for transgender youth in Arkansas”, adding: “These young people will be unable to obtain medical care that their doctors and parents agree they need – and those already receiving care will have their treatment abruptly halted – which could have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.”

It noted that the prospect of losing access to “this critical medical care” is “unbearable” for many young trans people. One of the plaintiffs, Joanna Brandt, is concerned about the impact the bill will have on her 15-year-old trans son who would have to discontinue his use of testosterone, saying it “incredibly distressing” that “he can no longer receive the gender-affirming care that has made him the happy, confident, thriving kid that he’s been.”

The lawsuit is arguing that the denial of healthcare violates both the “right to parental autonomy guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” and the right to free speech.