U.S. District Judge James “Jay” Moody struck down the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act” (SAFE Act) on June 20. The Arkansas law protected children from experimental and destructive “transgender” medical procedures.
Arkansas was the first state in the nation to shield minors with sexual identity confusion from puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones and surgeries used to make them look more like the opposite sex. The state legislature passed the measure and then voted overwhelmingly to overturn a veto by Governor Asa Hutchinson in April 2021.
Judge Moody, appointed by former President Barack Obama, said the act was unconstitutional; violated the doctors’ first amendment right to free speech; and infringed on the plaintiffs’ rights to “substantive due process” and “equal protection.”
He permanently enjoyed Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin from enforcing the act.
The legislature explained why the SAFE Act was needed to protect children, stating what the research shows for children struggling with embracing their biological maleness or femaleness:
Studies consistently demonstrate that the majority come to identify with their biological sex in adolescence or adulthood, thereby rendering most physiological interventions unnecessary.
Arkansas’ measure went on to state:
Furthermore, scientific studies show that individuals struggling with distress at identifying with their biological sex often have already experienced psychopathology, which indicates these individuals should be encouraged to seek mental health services to address comorbidities and underlying causes of their distress before undertaking any hormonal or surgical intervention.
The SAFE Act described the lack of research surrounding the “treatment” of young people with irreversible, powerful and body-disfiguring drugs, hormones and surgeries:
The prescribing of puberty-blocking drugs is being done despite the lack of any long-term longitudinal studies evaluating the risks and benefits of using these drugs for the treatment of such distress or gender transition.
Healthcare providers are also prescribing cross-sex hormones for children who experience distress at identifying with their biological sex, despite the fact that no randomized clinical trials have been conducted on the efficacy or safety of the use of cross-sex hormones in adults or children for the purpose of treating such distress or gender transition.
The legislature said:
It is of grave concern to the General Assembly that the medical community is allowing individuals who experience distress at identifying with their biological sex to be subjects of irreversible and drastic nongenital gender reassignment surgery and irreversible, permanently sterilizing genital gender reassignment surgery, despite the lack of studies showing that the benefits of such extreme interventions outweigh the risks.
Despite the lack of evidence for and the clear harms from these procedures, the judge rejected the legislature’s reasoning and embraced the testimony of radical medical activists who use these dangerous “treatments.” Judge Moody stated:
Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that, by prohibiting it, the State undermined the interests it claims to be advancing.
In a news release, Griffin expressed frustration with the judge and his ruling:
I am disappointed in the decision that prevents our state from protecting our children against dangerous medical experimentation under the moniker of “gender transition.”
Unfortunately, Judge Moody misses what is widely understood across the United States and in the United Kingdom and European countries: There is no scientific evidence that any child will benefit from these procedures, while the consequences are harmful and often permanent. I will continue fighting as long as it takes to stop providers from sterilizing children.
Griffin then stated, “We plan to appeal Judge Moody’s decision to the Eighth Circuit.”
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