News & Politics

Ark. House and Senate Override Veto on Bill Protecting Kids From Chemical Castration

AP Photo/Kelly Kissel, File

On Tuesday afternoon, the Arkansas House and Senate voted to override Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of H.B. 1570, the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act. The bill would “prohibit a physician or other healthcare provider in Arkansas from providing any gender transition procedures to minors that are intended to alter the gender of a child or delay puberty.” Experimental “puberty-blocking” drugs and cross-sex hormones may have long-lasting impacts on fertility, so advocates have branded them “chemical castration.”

The Arkansas House overrode Hutchinson’s veto, 72 to 25. The Senate overrode the veto by a 25-8 margin.

Hutchinson, who signed laws protecting religious freedom in health care and banning biological males from competing against females in women’s sports, vetoed H.B. 1570 on Monday.

“If [the bill] becomes law we are creating new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters dealing with young people,” Hutchinson explained in a video press conference. He argued that children “deserve the guiding hand of their parents and of the health care professional that their family has chosen.”

Hutchinson accused lawmakers of trying to make the state “the definitive oracle of medical care” for children in Arkansas.

There is no evidence that transgender surgery improves the mental health outcomes of gender dysphoric people. Men and women who formerly identified as transgender and underwent surgery have grown to reject transgender identity and lament the damage they did to their own bodies.

Last year, Britain’s High Court ruled that children under age 16 lack the ability to consent to “puberty-blocking” drugs and cross-sex hormones that have irreversible life-long effects. Children who undergo such “treatments” often persist in transgender identity and lose their ability to have children later in life.

Some endocrinologists have warned about the negative effects of “puberty-blockers” and cross-sex hormones.

“I call it a development blocker — it’s actually causing a disease,” Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an independent private practice endocrinologist in Rocklin, Calif., who consults with Sutter Roseville Medical Center, told PJ Media. The disease in question is hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. It occurs when the brain fails to send the right signal to the gonads to make the hormones necessary for development.

Much of the medical establishment has rushed to embrace transgender ideology, championing experimental “treatments” that seek to alter otherwise healthy male and female bodies to make them conform to a cross-sex gender identity. While the government should not interfere in medicine, the state may have a duty to protect children who lack the capacity to make lifelong decisions from “treatments” that will set them on a path toward the mutilation of their own bodies.

When Hutchinson vetoed H.B. 1570, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins called on the legislature to override his veto.

“The Arkansas legislature has demonstrated leadership and courage in the face of the Left’s campaign of deception combined with spineless wokeism of Corporate America. The legislature cannot stop now and deprive Arkansas’s children of this much-needed protection,” he said.

“Minors cannot drive cars, purchase cigarettes, or consume alcohol legally. Parents cannot take newborn infants home from the hospital without a car seat or allow children to ride in an automobile without a seatbelt. In Arkansas, minors cannot purchase NyQuil over the counter. Yet in the absence of this legislation they would have a green light to alter and even do irreversible harm to their bodies,” Perkins warned.

“The harmful gender ideology sweeping across our nation creates a growing and urgent need for legislative protections for children vulnerable to life-altering procedures such as puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries,” he argued. “These unscientific, destructive gender transition procedures should not be allowed to interrupt the development of children and irreversibly alter their bodies.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) also celebrated the veto override. “Our laws should protect every child’s opportunity to have a natural childhood. While approaches may differ, we should all agree that there is nothing natural or healthy about pumping kids full of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones,” Matt Sharp, director of ADF’s state government relations division, said in a statement. “Children should not be pushed to receive experimental treatments that can leave them permanently sterile and physically marred for life.”

H.B. 1570 is now the law of the land in Arkansas, providing key protection from experimental “treatments” that will subject minors to long-term health struggles. Unfortunately, leftist activists are likely to file lawsuits to stop the legislation from coming into effect.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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