Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, vetoed a bill on Monday that would have banned all gender reassignment surgeries and other treatments for transgender youth in the state, calling the bill an example of government overreach.
The surprising move breaks with the conservative lawmakers who proposed the ban.
Hutchinson announced his veto at a news conference with reporters, calling the bill “well-intentioned, but off course,” and explaining that it put the state in a position to override the decisions of doctors and parents.
“I must veto House Bill 1570,” Hutchinson said. “I have signed the veto … today, and I have notified the sponsors as well as the leadership of the House and Senate as well.”
“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,” he said.
While transgender youth in Arkansas are an “extreme minority,” the governor continued, “they deserve the guiding hand of their parents and of the health care professional that their family has chosen.”
Hutchinson went on to accuse lawmakers of trying to make the state “the definitive oracle of medical care” for children in the state, a position that the governor said the state should not assume.
“The move is a victory for LGBTQ activists, who have fought against a wave of bills across the nation in recent months targeting transgender children and in particular their participation in school sports leagues,” The Hill notes. “Hutchinson signed another bill last month that banned transgender girls and women from participating in K-12 and collegiate-level sports aligning with their chosen gender identity.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) announces he has vetoed HB 1570, the bill that would restrict care for trans youth. pic.twitter.com/pcMY87stVu
— The Recount (@therecount) April 5, 2021