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Tipsheet

Federal Court Blocks Arkansas Law Banning ‘Gender-Affirming’ Care for Minors

AP Photo/Robin Rayne

On Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that Arkansas cannot enforce a ban on “transgender” children receiving “gender-affirming” care. “Gender-affirming” care encompasses hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery.

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The 8th U.S. The Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a judge’s ruling temporarily blocking the state from enforcing the law, which prohibits doctors in the state from providing this type of care to anyone under 18 years old or referring them to other providers to receive treatment.

The ACLU challenged the 2021 law on behalf of four families of transgender children and two doctors who provide “gender affirming” treatments. 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) vetoed the law last year and the state legislature overrode it (via Politico): 

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed the ban last year, but GOP lawmakers overrode him to enact the law.

Multiple medical groups, including the American Medical Association, oppose the ban and have said the care is safe if properly administered. The Justice Department has also opposed the ban as unconstitutional.

Arkansas argued that the restriction is within the state’s authority to regulate medical practices. An attorney for the ACLU told the appeals panel in June that reinstating the restriction would create uncertainty for families around the state.

Hutchinson vetoed the ban following pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide. Hutchinson said the law went too far, especially since it wouldn’t exempt youth already receiving the care.

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On “Transgender Day of Visibility” this year, Biden administration agencies released guidance promoting this type of health care for minors, which Townhall covered. The agencies that published the guidance claimed there are “gender-affirming” steps that are “reversible.” 

Townhall reported this moth how Planned Parenthood employees told NPR that “gender-affirming” health care for transgender people would be impacted if abortion clinics shut down in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision.

"Both gender-affirming hormone care and abortions are essential health care that aren't offered by most [abortion] providers, and both are stigmatized services," Ashley Coffield, the chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, told NPR. "So the same values we use in abortion care — like self-determination, respect and a nonjudgmental approach to health care — translate really easily into serving our gender-affirming hormone care patients.”

In May, Townhall covered how a 23-year-old woman named Helena Kerschner told Fox News television host Tucker Carlson that she regretted transitioning to become a man when she was a teenager. She began her transition at a Planned Parenthood in Chicago as a teen.

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“I’m just really concerned for younger girls and boys, like I once was, being led down this path and being hurt by it,” Kerschner told Carlson. “When you go on a cross sex hormone, like, that’s going to give you not just physical changes but psychological experiences that you can’t just act like they never happened.” 

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