USA, Arkansas bans care for transgender youth

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Arkansas is the first US state to ban hormone therapies and surgery for transgender youth. On Monday, the governor of the state, Asa Hutchinson, welcoming the requests of pediatricians, social workers and parents, concerned about the mental health of children already at high risk of depression and suicide, had vetoed the bill. But the House and Senate, overwhelmingly Republicans, voted for cancel the rejection by the governor. There are also 16 other US states, such as Alabama and Tennessee, which are considering approving similar measures.

The bill prohibits doctors from providing hormone treatments or surgery to minors, but also from referring them to other specialists. According to its promoters, it is a restriction like many others imposed by the state on minors, for example a ban on alcohol consumption. “You have to be 18 to make those decisions,” says Republican Robin Lundstrum.

But, according to experts, including the National Association of Pediatricians (American Academy of Pediatrics) those treatments can improve the mental health of young people and even save their lives. Robert Garofalo, doctor of the Lurie Children hospital in Chicago, claims that the measure is “not just anti-trans. It is anti-science. It is against public health ”.

The law, however, will go into effect at the end of July. L’American Civil Liberties Union promises battle and has already assured that he will fight to oppose the provision. “This is a sad day for Arkansas,” said Holly Dickson, executive director of the organization for the defense of individual rights and freedoms. This law “will take families, doctors and businesses out of the state and will send a terrible message and heartbreaking to transgender young people. ” But, he added, “this fight is not over yet.”

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