LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked enforcement of Arkansas’ ban on gender confirming treatments for transgender youth while a lawsuit challenging the prohibition proceeds.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in May asking U.S. District Judge Jay Moody in Little Rock to strike down the law that made Arkansas the first state to forbid doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or sex reassignment surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for such treatment. The ACLU sought the preliminary injunction while its lawsuit proceeded.
The law had been set to take effect July 28.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of four transgender youths and their families, as well as two doctors who provide gender confirming treatments. The lawsuit argues that the prohibition would severely harm transgender youth in the state and violate their constitutional rights.
Arkansas’ Republican-dominated Legislature overrode GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the measure. Hutchinson vetoed the ban following pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youths who said it would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide.
Sabrina Jennen lives in Fayetteville and takes gender-affirming hormonal therapies. She and her parents went to Little Rock today. They joined several other families in the lawsuit.
“Today was a big moment for the whole trans community,” Jennen said. “Nobody wants to be in the wrong body, and that’s what this medical care fixed.”
Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R), who sponsored the house bill that ultimately became this law, said she would continue to push for a ban on these treatments.
“While disappointing, this injunction is not the last word on this matter. The battle to protect children from chemical and surgical castration which has irreversible consequences for minors – who cannot possibly understand the long term effects – will have a full hearing in court. I’m confident that when the facts come out, all will clearly see the need to protect children from the harms associated with these procedures. I am grateful that the Attorney General has already indicated that she will appeal this ruling.“Rep. Robin Lundstrum, (R) Arkansas