LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Monday that he has vetoed a proposed ban on healthcare treatments for transgender youth in the state.
The bill, House Bill 1570, bans gender confirming treatments for minors and passed the state Senate last week.
The proposed law would make it a felony for healthcare professionals to perform certain gender transition procedures on people under 18.
The majority-Republican Senate voted 28-7 in favor of the legislation. If the bill is enacted it would be the first prohibition of its kind in the country, opponents say.
During the press conference, Hutchinson explained his reasoning behind vetoing House Bill 1570, saying it was a "government overreach" into a difficult health care question. He also called the proposed law a "product of a cultural war in America."
"If House Bill 1570 becomes law then we are creating 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 said.
The governor said this ban could lead to an increased risk of suicide or other harmful actions in the transgender community.
Hutchinson said he expects the veto will be overridden by the majority Republican legislature.
The ACLU of Arkansas said that this "victory belongs to the thousands of Arkansans of who spoke out against this discriminatory bill."
The sponsors of the proposed ban, Representative Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) and Senator Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) reacted to the governor's veto and Clark said he was "shocked and disappointed." Clark has asked the Arkansas legislature to override the veto.