ACLU Sues Arkansas To Block Enforcement Of Ban On Gender-Affirming Treatment For Trans Youth

ACLU Sues Arkansas To Block Enforcement Of Ban On Gender-Affirming Treatment For Trans Youth

- in Politics

Washington (CNN)The American Civil Liberties Union sued Arkansas on Tuesday in an effort to block enforcement of a recently passed law that prohibits physicians in the state from providing gender-affirming treatment for trans youth, arguing it violates the Constitution and will have “devastating consequences” for members of the community.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court on behalf of four transgender adolescents in Arkansas and their families, as well as two doctors who provide gender-affirming care to trans youth in the state, is reportedly the first legal challenge to Arkansas’ Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which became the first such ban to be approved by a state after Arkansas’ legislature overrode Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the measure last month.

The lawsuit also sets up an early challenge to one of the more closely watched anti-trans bills passed in 2021 — a year that has seen an unprecedented number of state bills that seek to impose restrictions on the lives of transgender Americans.

    Under the law, young people will not be able to access puberty-blockers, a treatment option for transgender youth that is used to prevent the onset of puberty. The measure also bans ​so-called cross-hormone therapy,​ a gender-affirming treatment that allows for trans people to ​change their physical appearances to be more consistent with their gender identities. The bill, which could go into effect later this summer, makes what it calls an “exception” for some intersex people with unspecified chromosomal makeup and hormone production, and those with difficulties resulting from previous gender-affirming treatments.

      “Gender-affirming care is life-saving care for our clients, and they’re terrified of what will happen if this law is allowed to take effect. No child should be cut off from the medical care they need or denied their fundamental right to be themselves — but this law would do both,” said Holly Dickson, the executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, in a statement.

        “We’re suing to stop this cruel and unconstitutional law from taking effect and inflicting further harm on these children and their families,” she added.

        Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, one of the defendants named in the suit, said Tuesday that she plans to “aggressively defend” the law in court.

          “I won’t sit idly by while radical groups such as the ACLU use our children as pawns for their own social agenda,” she said in a statement.

          CNN has reached out to the state medical board for comment on the lawsuit.

          The ACLU argues in the lawsuit that under the law, trans youth in Arkansas “will be unable to obtain medical care that their doctors and parents agree they need — and those already receiving care will have thei

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