Arkansas' Republican governor vetoes anti-trans health care bill

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) says he vetoed a bill that would've prohibited physicians in Arkansas from providing gender-affirming "procedures" for trans people under age 18 because it would be "vast government overreach."

Posted: Apr 5, 2021 3:21 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2021 3:22 PM


Arkansas' Republican governor on Monday vetoed an anti-transgender health care bill that would've prohibited physicians in the state from providing gender-affirming "procedures" for trans people under age 18.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters that he killed HB 1570 because the bill "would be and is a vast government overreach" and because it would've created "new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people."

The governor called the legislation "a product of the cultural war in America," adding that his veto comes even though he believed the bill was "well-intended."

The bill, called the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, passed the state Senate late last month by a vote of 28-7. The state House passed it in early March by a vote of 70-22.

The bill made what it called an "exception" for some intersex people with unspecified chromosomal makeup and hormone production, and those with difficulties resulting from previous gender-affirming treatments. It also would have banned ​so-called cross-hormone therapy,​ a gender-affirming treatment that allows for trans people to ​change their physical appearance to be more consistent with their gender identity.

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