The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit
against the state of Arkansas
on Tuesday over a new law that prevents transgender children
from receiving essential medical care, claiming that the measure will cause “catastrophic harm” to one of the country’s most vulnerable groups.
The civil rights
organization filed the lawsuit on behalf of four families and two doctors who have transgender patients, requesting that a federal judge overturn the law. It is the first major challenge to state laws enacted in a broader nationwide effort by Republicans
to target trans youth
“Transgender children in crisis should not have to turn to the courts to ensure that they can get the health care
that their doctors and parents agree they need,” wrote James Esseks, director of the ACLU
’s LGBT & HIV
Project, on Tuesday. “But that is the reality that anti-LGBTQ forces have created as part of their campaign of attacks on transgender youth
We are suing the state of Arkansas for their unconstitutional ban on gender affirming care. This is the first of many lawsuits we will file in response to anti-trans
laws passed this year. — ACLU (@ACLU) May 25, 2021
In March, the Arkansas legislature passed HB 1570, which prohibits doctors from providing medically necessary treatment to transgender youth. It also makes it illegal for doctors to provide minors with treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or any transition procedures, and those who violate the law face license revocation.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) vetoed the bill in April
, stating that Arkansas should not be the “final oracle of medical care, superseding parents, patients, and health care experts.”
Shortly after, the Republican-controlled House
overwhelmingly overrode his veto, and the law went into effect on July 28.
According to the ACLU, more than 30 states are considering or have attempted to pass laws restricting transgender children's access to health care or prohibiting them from competing on school sports
The bills rely heavily on conservative dog
whistles about transgender people
, relying on misinformation
and negative tropes to pass discriminatory legislation. President Joe Biden
has moved to undo many of his predecessor's efforts to restrict transgender people from participating in everyday life, but religious conservative groups have teamed up with local politicians to pass bills.
According to studies, access to medical care is a critical need for transgender youth, and the nation's leading pediatrics organizations have condemned anti-trans legislation as harmful to children.
“As a parent, it’s been incredibly distressing because my thoughts are constantly on, what am I going to do for my son if this... takes effect and he can no longer receive the gender-affirming care that has made him the happy, confident, thriving kid that he’s been?” said Joanna Brandt, a plaintiff in the lawsuit on behalf of her son, Dylan, to The Associated Press