Update: the Arkansas legislature voted on April 6 to override Gov. Hutchinson’s veto of a bill banning gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth.
Religious-right groups slammed conservative Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson for vetoing a bill that would make it illegal for transgender minors to receive gender-affirming medical care. It would have been, as Reuters noted, “the first in the country to prevent doctors from providing gender-affirming treatments to transgender youth.”
The legislation had been pushed by anti-LGBTQ groups, including the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm and the American Principles Project.
The ACLU’s Chase Strangio called it “the single most extreme anti-trans law to ever pass through a state legislature.” But similar bills are part of a wave of anti-trans legislation at the state level. “Republican lawmakers in at least 17 other states have introduced similar bans on medical treatments for transgender minors, despite opposition from major pediatric and psychiatric organizations,” according to the Washington Post.
The Post noted that, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, restricting access to puberty blockers and hormone treatments “has been shown to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in an already vulnerable population.” Pediatricians in Arkansas rallied against the legislation on Saturday.
On Monday, Hutchinson called the legislation “a vast government overreach” and that would interfere in the relationship between doctors and parents, noting that it “does not grandfather young people currently on hormone treatment.”
The anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins accused Hutchinson of being “on the side of a radical ideology that’s literally destroying people for life.”
“Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist and “Stop the Steal” activist Jack Posobiec combined an promo for religious-right funder and fellow conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell’s My Pillow with a Twitter slam on Hutchinson, referring to the governor as “a useless foam-based lifeform” and calling for his impeachment.
Right-wing YouTube personality Matt Walsh called Hutchinson “the useless coward governor of Arkansas.”
During his YouTube livestream last night, right-wing pastor Shane Vaughn called Hutchinson a “RINO” and instructed viewers to call lawmakers in Arkansas and urge them to override his veto.
The state legislature could possibly override the veto; in Arkansas, a governor’s veto can be overturned by a simple majority of the state legislature.
While it appears that Hutchinson heeded pediatricians’ advice on this piece of legislation, the pro-LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign pointed out that Hutchinson “already signed into law legislation that bans trans kids from playing sports and that allows doctors to deny care to LGBTQ people.”