Arkansas became the first state in the United States to prohibit gender-affirming treatment for trans people under the age of 18 after the state's General Assembly on Tuesday voted to override the governor's veto of an anti-trans bill that he called a "vast government overreach."
The Republican-controlled House in Arkansas voted 71-24 to override Governor Asa Hutchinson's veto of the legislation, titled HB 1570, on Tuesday, with the state Senate overriding his veto by a vote of 25-8 later, reported CNN.
The law bans hormone therapy, a gender-affirming treatment allowing trans people to change their physical appearance to be more consistent with their gender identity.
With the new law, young people will also not be able to access puberty-blockers, a treatment option for transgender youth that is used to prevent the onset of puberty.
The Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act was passed by the state Senate last month by a vote of 28-7. The state House had passed it in early March by a vote of 70-22, reported CNN.
Tuesday's action was swiftly denounced by LGBTQ advocates, who promised to mount a legal challenge against the law. These advocates feared that the law could have negative impacts on the youth who have a much greater risk of suicide.
The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention orgsation for LGBTQ youth, warned in a statement that trans youth in the state "would be put at significantly increased risk of self-harm because of the legislation."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also said the law will drive families, doctors and businesses out of the state and send a terrible and heartbreaking message to the transgender young people who are watching in fear.
On Monday, Hutchinson had vetoed the legislation, terming it "a product of the cultural war in America" and arguing it creates "new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people."
According to CNN, the law is a significant step backward for trans Americans fighting for quality in Arkansas, coming at a time when Republicans in several states are pushing policies aimed to restrict trans people from participating in common activities.
( With inputs from ANI )
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