On April 6, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on a bill that would ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender youths in the state, ABC News reported.
The "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act" bars doctors from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender minors, including hormones, puberty blockers and transition-related surgeries. "These children need to be protected," Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum, the lead sponsor of the act, told reporters April 5.
Hutchinson vetoed the bill, saying the intentions behind the state legislature's "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act" were "well-intended but off course," according to Yahoo! News. However, Hutchinson has signed anti-trans measures recently, including one that bans transgender girls and women from participating in K-12 and collegiate level sports that align with their gender identity.
The House voted 71-24, and the Senate 25-8, to override the governor's veto a day after it was announced.
Following the Senate vote, the ACLU tweeted, "We are preparing litigation as we speak."
"Despite opposition from even their own anti-LGBTQ governor, Arkansas legislators have denied transgender children access to medically-necessary and age-appropriate health care," said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David in a statement sent to Windy City Times. "This is the first law of its kind anywhere in the country, and it is immeasurably cruel to the transgender children who already suffer from higher risks of anxiety, depression, body dysphoria, and suicidal ideation and for whom those risks will only increase without medical care."