General News

Arkansas enacts trans healthcare ban

Rachel Badham April 8, 2021

Arkansas has become the first US state to enact a law which prohibits medical professionals from providing gender-affirming healthcare to young trans people. According to The News & Observer, governor Asa Hutchinson rejected the bill, arguing it interfered with the rights of a parent to consent to their child’s medical treatment.

State governor Asa Hutchinson

However, the Republican controlled House and Senate voted to override Hutchinson’s decision, making the bill official law. Medical professionals and LGBTQ+ activists have condemned the new regulations, with Doctor Robert Garofalo, from the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, saying: “This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth…They’re not just anti-trans. They’re anti-science. They’re anti-public health.”

The Human Rights Campaign has vowed to challenge the bill, with president Alphonso David tweeting: “This fight is not over. We will utilize every available tool to fight for the rights & futures of trans and non-binary youth and their families.” A handful of other states are currently considering laws to limit young trans people’s access to appropriate healthcare. Alabama introduced such a bill in February, while Mississippi is also debating similar regulations, after becoming the first state to ban trans athletes from competing in school sports this year.