Arkansas Law that Prohibits Transgender Procedures on Minors Held Up in Court

The law prohibits but does not criminalize the procedures.

  • Arkansas’s Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, or SAFE Act, bans transgender procedures on minors.
  • The law was introduced by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R) in February of 2021 and became law in April of that year.
  • However, state lawmakers were forced to override a veto from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) who called it “vast government overreach.”
  • The legislation prohibits the irreversible procedures on minors but does not criminalize it, creating strong legal remedies for the victims who seek to sue later in life.
  • Before the law could take effect, U.S. District Judge Jay Moody temporarily enjoined the law after an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union.
  • In August of this year, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Moody’s preliminary injunction.
  • Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she is committed to protecting the law because it protects children.
  • “This is about protecting children,” Rutledge said. “Nothing about this law prohibits someone after the age of 18 from making this decision. What we’re doing in Arkansas is protecting children from life-altering, permanent decisions.”
  • The model for the legislation was created by the Family Research Council, and shows concern for  “gender-affirming” interventions that could be stepping in to prohibit the natural resolution of gender dysphoria for teens that typically takes place later in life.
  • “One thing that needs to be emphasized is that the Arkansas SAFE Act and bills like it do not preclude the decisions of adults,” Quena Gonzalez, senior director of government affairs at the Family Research Council, told The Daily Signal. “This is about minors.”
  • Dr. Michelle Cretella, former executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, told The Daily Signal that at least 11 studies “demonstrate that prior to society-wide transgender propaganda, the vast majority of children with transgender belief went on to embrace their bodies and genetic sex by young adulthood. This proves that the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and mutilating surgeries are not required for trans-believing youth to live as the transgender activists claim.”
  • Spain is set to adopt one of, if not the most extreme transgender policies in the world, allowing minors to change their gender without parental consent, as American Faith previously reported.
  • The new “Trans Law” would allow anyone over the age of 16 to change their “gender” and to be treated as the opposite sex, including accessing bathrooms and competing in sports of their desired gender.
  • Children between 12 and 14 years of age will no longer need parental consent to alter their gender, but will only need a judge’s approval.
  • Health specialists are concerned that once passed, the law would prohibit professionals from intervening in the process. The law “jeopardizes the comprehensive medical care to which all children are entitled” and ignores the fact that “in all judicial decisions relevant to the life of the minor, the best interests of the minor must prevail,” said Luisa Lázaro, the president of the Spanish Association of Adolescent and Child Psychiatry (AEPNyA).