Arkansas legislature defies governor, becomes first state to ban trans surgeries for minors

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF

The Arkansas state legislature voted Tuesday to override Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of a bill banning transgender surgeries and procedures for minors.

The move makes Arkansas the first state to ban transgender surgeries and procedures for minors, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act, prohibits physicians from performing gender transition procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries, on minors.

Transgender surgeries include vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, breast implants, and facial surgeries.

The SAFE Act passed the state’s Senate last week. Hutchinson had signed a similar bill in late March banning biological men from participating in women’s sports, but vetoed the SAFE Act Monday, describing the bill as a “vast government overreach,” and adding that the state shouldn’t jump into every “medical, human, and ethical issue.”

The bill’s opponents have vowed to sue to block the bill from going into effect this summer, according to the AP.

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