A bill seeking to ban trans healthcare in Arkansas has been struck down by a federal judge, a monumental decision in the fight against transphobic legislation nationwide. The rejection of this bill sets a precedent for at least 19 others states who have introduced similar legislation, attempting to curtail gender-affirming healthcare for youth under the age of 18.
The US District Judge Jay Moody ruled that the act violated the US Constitution and wrote in his ruling “Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patient and that, by prohibiting it, the state undermined the interests it claims to be advancing.”
The Arkansas law would officially prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming care to anyone under the age of 18 in the form of hormone treatments, puberty blockers and surgery. Arkansas was the first state to ban this type of medical care in 2021 with Act 262.
Republican Attorney General Tim Griffin expressed disappointment over the ruling and claimed he planned to appeal the ruling with the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
After conservative states introduced similar legislation, there has been consistent push back from LGBTQ+ communities and medical professionals, as the lack of access to gender-affirming care could severely affect the mental health of transgender youth.
Many medical corporations have been vocal about their disapproval of the bans saying gender affirming medical practices are safe if done correctly.