SMALL ROCK, Arch. (AP) – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday vetoed legislation that would make her state the first to ban transgender youth treatment or surgery, though lawmakers could limit her objections.
The Republican governor rejected legislation that barred doctors from using sex-enhancing hormone therapy, blocking puberty or surgery on anyone under the age of 18 or sending them to other providers for treatment.
“If (the bill) becomes law, we will set new standards for legislative intervention with doctors and parents, as they deal with the most complex and sensitive issues involving young people,” Hutchinson told a news conference.
The Republican legislature can still pass this measure, as only a simple majority of the House և Senate is needed to lift the governor’s veto in Arkansas. Hutchinson said he believes it is possible to overestimate.
Hutchinson’s veto follows requests from pediatricians, social workers, and parents of transgender youth who said the measure would hurt a community at risk of depression or suicide. Hutchinson said he met with transgender doctors when he was thinking of signing the measure.
He said he would sign if it focused on gender reassignment surgery, which is not currently performed on minors in the state. He noted that this will not release young people who are already undergoing treatment.
“The bill is broad, it does not extremely populate young people who are currently undergoing hormonal treatment,” he said. “In other words, young people who are currently under medical supervision will be left without treatment when this law comes into force. »
The event’s sponsors did not say when they planned to cancel or whether they had enough votes to pass the measure, despite Hutchinson’s objection.
“These children need to be protected,” Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrումըm told reporters.
Hutchinson said he hoped lawmakers would find a “more restrained approach.” Conservative groups have urged the legislature to pass the ban.
“The Arkansas Legislature needs to step up and review the governor’s veto to make sure this good bill becomes law,” said Cox Chair of the Family Council.
Arkansas is one of the few states where only a simple legislative majority is needed to lift the governor’s veto. Hutchinson’s rejection bill, which Hutchinson rejected to require the state to reimburse companies for fines for violating coronavirus safety rules, failed this year.
The ban was the last resort against transgender people, which easily went to the Arkansas legislature in other states this year. The governors of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have signed laws banning transgender girls and women from competing in school sports teams with gender identities.
In South Dakota, the transgender sports bill died after Republican Gov. Christie Noem partially vetoed it. Shortly after the bill died, he issued an executive order urging public schools to impose restrictions, but critics say the order is simply a proposal aimed at saving the Social Conservatives’ reputation. Noem promised to convene a special legislative session so that lawmakers could reconsider the issue.
Hutchinson recently signed a law allowing doctors to refuse treatment because of moral or religious objections, a law that opponents say could be used to drive LGBTQ patients back.
The head of the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights group said Hutchinson’s veto should be a “warning” to other states considering similar restrictions. Similar treatment bans have been proposed in at least 20 states.
“The consequences for Arkansas have been enormous; they will be just as severe for any state that weighs in on this type of legislation,” said Alfonso David, chairman of the Human Rights Campaign.
This is not the first time that Hutchinson has pushed back the LGBTQ community.
In 2017, he opposed legislation banning transgender people from using public baths that matched their gender identity. The bathroom bill, which was opposed by tour groups, never went beyond the Senate committee.
In 2015, Hutchinson urged lawmakers to reconsider a measure of religious objection that was criticized by the state’s largest employers as homosexual. Finally, the governor signed a version of the event, which was revised to address those concerns.
Associated Press writer Stephen Groves contributes to this report from Sioux Falls, South Dakota