The Arkansas Legislature Has Overrode Governor's Veto on Trans Youth Health Bill

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Carolyn Twersky
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Photo credit: Pacific Press - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pacific Press - Getty Images

[UPDATE 4/6/2021 3:47 PM]: The Arkansas legislature has overrode Governor Hutchinson's veto of House Bill 1570 by a vote of 25-8, the ACLU reports. This news comes just a day after the Governor vetoed the health bill, which prohibits Arkansas doctors from providing gender affirming medical care to trans children under the age of 18.

The ACLU has previously said the bill "violates the Constitution" and "singles out a group of young people solely because you do not understand them and because you find them to be politically unpopular." The organization is already preparing litigation and has vowed to bring the issue to court.

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Original post: On Monday, Arkansas' governor, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed House Bill 1570, known as the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which would have prohibited doctors in the state from providing gender-affirming medical care for transgender children, including treatments like puberty-blockers, hormone therapies, and any transition-related surgeries.

According to CNN, Gov. Hutchinson said that the bill "is a vast government overreach" and it would've created "new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people."

He also called the bill "a product of the cultural war in America," though he believes it was initially "well-intended."

Before reaching Hutchinson's desk, the bill passed through the state Senate by a vote of 28-7 and through state House by a vote of 70-22.

Many protested against the bill for its attack of trans-youth, and Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & HIV Project called it "the single most extreme anti-trans law to ever pass through a state legislature."

As of now, though, the fight is not yet over. The Arkansas State Legislature could override the veto and, according to the Times Record, Gov. Hutchinson expects that they will do so.

Check out ways you can help continue the fight against HB 1570 here.

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