An Arkansas bill banning transgender medical care has been vetoed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who previously had approved of bills targeting the trans community. He lambasted the measure, calling it a “product of the cultural war in America” and a “vast government overreach,” CNN noted.
A veto override in Arkansas, however, requires only majority approval in both chambers. Hutchinson said he expects one.
HB 1570 would have banned gender-affirmation care for young people. Officially titled the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, it does contain exceptions for intersex people and those suffering difficulties with previous gender-affirmation procedures.
Hutchinson said the bill would create “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people."
In particular, Hutchinson was uncomfortable with the effect it would have on those already mid-transition, who would be forced to stop.
“That makes my heart break to think about it,” he said.
The veto is notable because it came from Hutchinson, who had signed a bill in March that allows medical workers to refuse non-emergency medical care on religious grounds. He also supported a school sports ban for trans women.
HB 1570 was apparently a step too far. It faced heavy opposition from LGBTQ groups and trans advocacy groups like The Trevor Project.
"We hope this action sends a message to other lawmakers across the country considering similar bans on gender-affirming medical care, which would only work to endanger young trans lives," said Sam Brinton, The Trevor Project’s vice president of advocacy and government affairs.
Alabama is currently considering a similar proposal that would criminalize doctors giving gender-affirming care to minors. It passed the Alabama Senate 23 to 4, along party lines.