U.S. District Judge Jay Moody on Wednesday temporarily blocked the enforcement of Arkansas’ ban on gender-confirming treatments for transgender youth, paving the way for the continuation of a lawsuit challenging it. The law was set to be instated on July 28.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in May asking Moody to stop the law, which would have made Arkansas the first state to forbid doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or sex reassignment surgery to anyone under 18 years old. Further, the law would have prevented doctors from referring trans youth to other providers for such treatment.
Moody said that such a law would cause “irreparable harm” to youth in the middle of treatment.
Arkansas’ majority Republican legislature overrode Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the measure in May. Hutchinson vetoed the ban following pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youths who said it would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide, citing that such medical treatments were between families and doctors.
Hutchinson issued the following statement late Wednesday afternoon:
“While this is a preliminary ruling, it appears the act will be struck down as unconstitutional for the same reason that I vetoed it. The act was too extreme and did not provide any relief for those young people currently undergoing hormone treatment with the consent of their parents and under the care of a physician. If the act would have been more limited, such as prohibiting sex reassignment surgery for those under 18, then I suspect the outcome would have been different.”