Judge blocks Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors

Demonstrators protest outside the state capitol in Little Rock, Ark., on March 18, 2021, as lawmakers considered a bill that bans physicians in the state from providing transition-related health care to transgender minors.A federal judge temporarily blocked an Arkansas law Wednesday that would have banned physicians in the state from providing transition-related health care — such as hormones and puberty blockers — to transgender minors.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the law in May on behalf of four trans youths and their parents, as well as two physicians who provide gender-affirming health care, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution. Supporters of the law argue that transition-related health care is “experimental” and that transgender minors are too young to receive the care.

Judge James M. Moody Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas heard arguments in the case Wednesday morning, granting the ACLU’s request for a preliminary injunction against the law, which was scheduled to take effect next week. Holly Dickson, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said in a statement that the ruling “sends a clear message to states across the country that gender-affirming care is lifesaving care, and we won’t let politicians in Arkansas — or anywhere else — take it away.”

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