Arkansas governor vetoes transgender youth treatment ban

Politics

FILE – In this April 8, 2020 photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson gives the State of the State in the senate chamber of the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. Hutchinson vetoed legislation that would have made his state the first to ban gender confirming treatments for transgender youth. (Tommy Metthe/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor has vetoed legislation that would have made his state the first to ban gender confirming treatments for transgender youth, though lawmakers could enact the restriction over his objections.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday rejected the measure that would have prohibited doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment or surgery to minors, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.

His move followed pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of trans youth.

“If (the bill) becomes law, then we are creating new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people,” Hutchinson said at a news conference.

The bill is among several targeting transgender people that have otherwise easily advanced in Arkansas. Hutchinson’s veto can be overridden by a simple majority of the Legislature.

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