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Arkansas gov nixes ban on youth transgender care

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"I must veto House bill 1570."

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Monday vetoed a bill that would have made the state the first in the country to prevent doctors from providing certain types of care to transgender youth.

"House Bill 1570 is opposed by the leading Arkansas medical associations, and the concern expressed is that denying the best medical care to transgender youth can lead to significant harm to the young person from suicidal tendencies and social isolation to increased drug use."

The bill threatens to revoke the medical licenses of any healthcare professionals providing minors with hormones or surgery aimed at gender reassignment and would open them up to lawsuits from patients who later regret their procedures.

Hutchinson's veto was a bit of a reversal after last week, when he signed into law a bill that banned transgender women and girls from playing female sports.

But the Republican governor, now in his second and final term, said this bill went too far.

"The state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human and ethical issue. This would be, and is, a vast government overreach."

But Hutchinson's veto is likely to be overridden by a simple majority vote in the state legislature, which passed the bill with sizeable majorities.

At least 16 other states are considering similar legislation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 67,000 pediatricians, was among several medical organizations to oppose the Arkansas bill, saying it would cut off trans kids from needed medical care and needlessly increase their already high risk of suicide.