Transgender children in Arkansas could face restrictions to medical care under a bill set for a vote this week. The bill would also punish doctors who treat transgender children in the state.
The bill in Arkansas follows several states considering laws affecting transgender youth. Supporters of healthcare bans argue that children are too young to consent to treatments such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers and that the bills aim to prevent “medical experimentation” on children.
However, supporters of gender-affirming healthcare argue that the treatments are well established and part of a gradual process that has been shown to dramatically improve the mental health of the most vulnerable kids.
“We’re talking about criminalizing doctors for providing best-practice medical care to their patients, and making it child abuse for parents to support access for their children,” said Kasey Suffredini, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, according to Yahoo News. “These bills are very, very extreme … and these are life and death issues.”
After a 2020 supreme court ruling protected trans rights in the workplace, conservative legislators have introduced more than 80 bills restricting trans rights – the highest number of anti-trans legislative proposals ever filed in a single year.
Corey Hyman, a 15-year-old boy from St. Charles, Missouri, said he waited years to access the medical treatments that saved his life. Corey said he had long known that he was a boy and came out to his mother as trans at age 12.
“I was being my true self and actually presenting as a male, and it just made me feel so much better,” Hyman said, according to Yahoo News. “Everyone told me that they could see me getting happier.”