The Arkansas State Legislature voted to overturn a veto from Governor Asa Hutchinson, passing legislation to shield gender-confused minors from puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones and surgeries used to make them look more like the opposite sex. In doing so, Arkansas became the first state to pass this type of measure to protect children from these experimental, unproven and damaging treatments.

The House voted 71 to 24, then the Senate voted 25 to 8, to override the veto and place H.B. 1570, the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” (SAFE Act), into law. The legislation also prevents the state from funding these so-called “gender transition procedures” for children.

The Family Council issued a press release saying, “The SAFE Act passed with overwhelming support from the Arkansas Legislature. On Monday Governor Hutchinson vetoed the SAFE Act. However, the legislature made the right decision to override the governor’s veto on Tuesday. This is good news, and Arkansans ought to be proud of their lawmakers for standing up and protecting the welfare of children.”

The Arkansas Family Council is a Focus-allied organization that works to “promote, protect, and strengthen traditional family values found and reflected in the Bible by impacting public opinion and public policy in Arkansas.”

The organization explained why the Safe Act was necessary, “Gender-reassignment surgeries can leave children sterilized and scarred for life. Medical researchers do not know the long term effects these procedures and therapies can have on kids. That is why many people equate them with experimenting on children.”

The Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) writes about the dangers of these medical practices in its Statement on Transgender Identification:

  • Among individuals who identify as transgender, use cross-sex hormones, and undergo sex reassignment surgery, there is well-documented increased incidence of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviors. Patients’ gender-altering and sexual encounter choices are among the factors relevant to these health disparities in transgender patients as compared to the general population.
  • Hormones prescribed to a previously biologically healthy child, for the purpose of blocking puberty, inhibit normal growth and fertility. Continuation of cross-sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, during adolescence is associated with increased health risks including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and some types of cancer.
  • Although current medical evidence is incomplete and open to various interpretations, some studies suggest that surgical alteration of sex characteristics has uncertain and potentially harmful psychological effects and can mask or exacerbate deeper psychological problems.

CMDA is an organization that “provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian health-care professionals and students.”

The governor had previously signed two bills which were supported by the Family Council. The Medical Conscience Act protected health-care workers and companies from being forced to take part in activities that violate their beliefs. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act recognized that boys and girls are different and ensured that girls and women could compete fairly against one another for athletic achievements and scholarships – not against biological males who think they are female.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT-activist group in the nation, opposed the legislation. The group’s president, Alphonso David, tweeted, “By overriding the veto on #HB1570, Arkansas has put itself in the lead of a race to the bottom fueled by fear & disinformation. But this fight is not over. We will utilize every available tool to fight for the rights & futures of trans and non-binary youth and their families.”

Governor Hutchinson gave a press conference explaining his veto of the Safe Act, where he said that the law would create “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people.”

He added, “While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human and ethical issue. This would be, and is, a vast government overreach.”

Family Council’s Governmental Affairs Assistant, Charisse Dean, told The Daily Citizen, “My response to that is that the government has a vested interest in ensuring the safety and wellness of our children,” adding, “A child’s health and safety is more important than a parent’s desire to affirm their child’s transgender identity.”

CMDA believes it is unethical to attempt to “transition” people to live as the opposite sex, explaining, “Medicine rests on science and should not be held captive to desires or demands that contradict biological reality.”

The medical association says, “Sex reassignment operations are physically harmful because they disregard normal human anatomy and function. Normal anatomy is not a disease; dissatisfaction with natural anatomical and genetic sexual makeup is not a condition that can be successfully remedied medically or surgically.”

CMDA explains children do not have “the developmental cognitive capacity to assent or request such interventions” and notes that puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries “have lifelong physical, psychological, and social consequences.” The association asserts, “The purpose of medicine is to heal the sick, not to collaborate with psychosocial disorders … interventions to alter normal sexual anatomy to conform to transgender desires are disruptive to health.”

The group states that it is important for Christians to come alongside those struggling with gender confusion, to help restore them to sound health, “For Christians struggling with transgender inclinations, spiritual, psychological, and social support are needed,”

Charisse Dean applauded the Safe Act’s passage, “We are so excited and grateful for all of the members of the House and Senate who stood together and voted to champion HB1570 and override Governor Hutchinson’s veto.” She thanked “each member that was willing to stand in the gap on behalf of children in Arkansas.”

Related articles and resources:

Arkansas Governor Signs ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act’ into Law

Arkansas Passes Bill to Ban Puberty Blockers, Sex-Change Surgeries for Minors

Christian Medical and Dental Association Position Statement on Transgender Identification

Counseling for Sexual Identity Concerns: A Measured, Careful, and Compassionate Approach

Focus on the Family: Transgender Resources

Focus on the Family Broadcasts: Becoming the Woman God Made Me to Be; The Journey Back to My True Identity (Part 1 of 2); The Journey Back to My True Identity (Part 2 of 2);

New Resource for Parents: “Responding to the Transgender Issue”

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