LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court said Wednesday it won’t reconsider its ruling temporarily blocking Arkansas from enforcing its ban on gender-affirming care for children.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the state’s request for the full court to hear its appeal of the temporary order against Arkansas’ law. A three-judge panel of the court in August upheld a judge’s injunction against the ban.
A landmark trial over whether to strike down the ban began before the same judge last month and is set to resume Nov. 28.
Arkansas’ law would prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old. It also would prevent doctors from referring patients elsewhere for such care.
Arkansas was the first state to enact such a ban, which has been widely criticized by medical groups.
“Families across Arkansas are thankful the 8th Circuit has rejected the state’s effort to enforce this baseless and cruel law,” said Holly Dickson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which is challenging the law on behalf of four transgender children and their families. “Arkansas should be a safe place to raise all children — transgender youth included — and denying them life-saving health care does the exact opposite.”
Republican lawmakers enacted the ban last year, overriding GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the legislation. Hutchinson, who had signed other restrictions on transgender youths into law, said the prohibition went too far by cutting off the care for those currently receiving it.
A similar ban has been blocked by a federal judge in Alabama.