Arkansas lawmakers ban youth transgender treatment and surgeries, overriding governor's veto

The Arkansas legislature has 31 women. There are 135 lawmakers in the legislature. The group met for a session March 10.

FORT SMITH, Ark. – The Arkansas Legislature has overridden the governor's veto on a bill to ban transitional surgeries and hormone supplements for anyone under 18 in the state.

The House voted 72-25 and the Senate voted 25-8 Tuesday to override the Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto of the House Bill 1570, which will take effect later this summer.

The bill makes Arkansas the first state to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth.

It prohibits doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment. The bill does not have a provision for youth currently transitioning.

The override follows Hutchinson saying he fully expected the Arkansas Legislature to act in this way after signing the veto on Monday.

Previously: Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson vetoes bill banning youth gender reassignment surgeries, calling it 'overbroad, extreme'

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks Monday at a news conference in the governor's mansion about his decision to veto House Bill 1570.

Hutchinson vetoed the bill following pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide.

Hutchison was opposed by state Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Elm Springs, the lead sponsor of the bill.

"(The bill) simply protects minors from being preyed upon and pressured into making adult decisions before they are ready," Lundstrum said in a statement. "Those who claim otherwise are not being honest, and either haven't read the bill or are placing fundraising above the best interest of children."

The bill was publicly opposed by the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association. Hutchinson said Arkansas' leading medical organizations opposed the bill as well.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it is preparing litigation against the legislation, which is labeled the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act.

“This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over – and we’re in it for the long haul," Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas' executive director, said in a statement.

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Contributing: Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press

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This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Arkansas transgender bill: Legislature overrides Gov. Asa Hutchinson