Court blocks Arkansas law that bars medical care for transgender children
A panel of judges ruled that Arkansas’ law banning transgender children from receiving gender-affirming care was unconstitutional
A panel of judges for the 8th U.S. Circuit of Court Appeals ruled Thursday that Arkansas lawmakers could not ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, stating that the act is unconstitutional.
Details: Arkansas Act 626, known as the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, was created by state lawmakers to protect “the health and safety of its citizens, especially vulnerable children,” by making it illegal for children to receive “gender transition treatment,” according to the act.
- The law also banned parents from taking their children to another state to receive gender-affirming care, and prevented doctors from performing these services or referring patients to other doctors who would do so.
Ruling: The judges ruled that the act violated the 14th Amendment, stating that people born as biological males are allowed to receive testosterone and have breast tissue removed, but this law would mean that those born of the female sex would not be able to do the same.
- “Because the minor’s sex at birth determines whether or not the minor can receive certain types of medical care under the law, Act 626 discriminates on the basis of sex. Arkansas’s characterization of the Act as creating a distinction on the basis of medical procedure rather than sex is unpersuasive.”
Looking back: Act 626 was proposed by Arkansas lawmakers in February 2021 but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
- GOP lawmakers overrode the veto and established the law, which was supposed to take effect in August 2021. In July of that year, following a lawsuit by local transgender rights activists, Judge James Moody blocked the law, sending the case to the district court.