Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke loudly on Monday.
And both the House and Senate in Arkansas spoke even louder on Tuesday.
A day after Hutchinson’s veto gave LGBTQ advocates hope of overturning a bill they say would diminish the rights of transgender Americans, Arkansas’ State Legislature voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping alive a bill they say would endanger the lives of innocent American children.
Citing “government overreach” in Monday’s news conference, Hutchinson also stated that House Bill 1570 was “well-intended but off course”. Compelling state leaders to rethink the issue again before acting, Hutchinson accused lawmakers of “(interfering) with health care” and that “the state should not presume to jump into every ethical health decision.”
Instead, Arkansas’ House voted 71-24, and the Senate 25-8, to override the governor’s veto a day after it was announced. Sponsors say the bill is needed for the protection of minors who are too young to make decisions on transition-related medical care. Said Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum, the lead sponsor of the act, “These children need to be protected”.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics has spoken out against bills like the SAFE Act, procedures like “puberty blockers” remain largely under serious scientific scrutiny for the damage they can cause. Two years ago, England’s only NHS youth gender clinic lowered the age at which children could be offered puberty blockers. Children as young as 11 were offered hormone-blocking drugs, and early data from the study at The Tavistock Centre “showed some taking the drugs reported an increase in thoughts of suicide and self-harm.” Preliminary findings showed that after a year on blockers, “there was a significant increase in those answering the statement: “I deliberately try to hurt or kill myself””. As the study had no control group, “it is hard to infer cause and effect or draw conclusions as to the potential harms or benefits of this treatment”.
Arkansas is the first state to pass a bill that protects children from the irreversible damage such medical procedures could cause.