Arkansas governor vetoes bill that would have banned gender-affirming treatments for minors
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (WMC/KAIT) - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed House Bill 1570 Monday, which would have banned gender-affirming treatments for minors.
Hutchinson had until Monday to either sign the bill into law, not sign it and allow it to become law or veto the bill.
“This is a government overreach,” Hutchinson said at a news conference Monday afternoon. “You are starting to let lawmakers interfere with health care and set a standard for legislation overriding health care. The state should not presume to jump into every ethical health decision.”
He continued: “If this was just to ban gender reassignment then I would support it, but those who are taking treatment are not grandfathered in, this is not the right path to put them on.”
The bill would prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment or surgery to minors.
“While the population of minors dealing with this is an extreme minority, this could lead to significant harms from suicide to drug use, to isolation,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson says the bill was overbroad, restricted people’s decisions, and sent a message about Arkansas that he did not want to send.
As far as any economic impacts to the state if he had signed the bill, Hutchinson said there was very little expressed.
The measure has drawn criticism from medical and child welfare groups who say it would further marginalize trans youth.
Hutchinson said the Arkansas legislature may override his veto, but he hoped the conservative Republican legislature would rethink the issue again before acting.
Former A-State Rugby player Dean Mosley is a transgender man who recently spoke to Region 8 News about the bill going to the governor’s desk and what it could mean to transgender teens in Arkansas. “I feel like the government is saying like kill yourself. We would rather you do that than exist inside of our state,” Mosley said.
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