FEDERAL JUDGE IN ARKANSAS BLOCKS NEW LAW THAT BANNED GENDER ALTERING DRUGS AND SURGERIES FOR MINORS

A federal judge temporarily blocked an Arkansas law Wednesday that would’ve banned physicians in the state from providing transition-related health care, such as cross-sex hormones. puberty blockers, or transgender surgery to minors. 

U.S. District Judge James Moody issued the temporary injunction to the law that was set to take effect on July 28.  The Judge’s actions were in response to a legal challenge by the Arkansas chapter of The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

The ACLU filed suit against the law in May on behalf of four trans youths and their parents, as well as two physicians who provide gender-affirming healt care, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas heard arguments in the case Wednesday morning, granting the ACLU’s request for a preliminary injunction against the law.

“This ruling sends a clear message to states across the country that gender-affirming care is life-saving care, and we won’t let politicians in Arkansas, or anywhere else, take it away,” Holly Dickson, executive director of ACLU of Arkansas, said in a written statement.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she would appeal the decision to a higher court. State lawmakers in April overrode a veto by Governor Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson to pass the measure, known as HB1570.

“This evidence-based law was created because we cannot allow children as young as 9 years old to receive experimental procedures that have irreversible, physical consequences,” Rutledge said in a statement.

Supporters of the law argue that transition-released health care is “experimental” and that transgender minors are too young to receive the care.

Arkansas was the first U.S. state to ban certain gender-transition treatments to minors. The transgender rights movement is growing, and states are reconsidering affected policies including about bathroom access and sports participation.

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