Chicago — Updated at 2 p.m. PT
Arkansas is now the first state to ban gender-affirming medical care and punish doctors who treat transgender children.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill, but the Republican-controlled legislature overrode his decision..
The bill is a “vast government overreach” and creates “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people,” said Hutchinson, according to NBC News.
The governor expected the General Assembly to override the veto.
The bill 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.
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.