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Court blocks Arkansas ban on health care for transgender kids



Little Rock, Arkansas – Arkansas cannot ban transgender children from receiving gender-affirming medical care, a federal court has ruled Thursday.

In 2021, Arkansas was the first state to ban transgender children from receiving gender-affirming medical care. “What this does, is the legislation itself makes it where they aren’t given medical treatment that can’t be reversed later on,” said State Senator for District 5, Bob Ballinger.

This law prohibited doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers, and surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment. “That thing that had made him so incredibly happy and confident in who he was as a person, having that potentially taken away was a really scary time,” said the mother of a transgender son, Joanna Brandt.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed a lawsuit on behalf of four transgender kids, their parents, and two Arkansas doctors.

Before this law, Joanna Brandt’s son Dylan had been going through transgender treatments for months.

According to Brandt, getting involved in the lawsuit was necessary. “We has some very serious discussions about what that was going to look like for our family if we did that, and we both decided that that was absolutely something that we wanted to participate in,” stated Brandt.

The ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court, which blocked Arkansas from enforcing the 2021 law. “Transgender people deserve the right to healthy lives without fear and discrimination,” said executive director for the ACLU, Holly Dickson.

Some representatives for the state aren’t so excited. “At this point, I would say we are still very early in the fight over this issue and ultimately I hope that the courts will side with what most Arkansans want, which is to protect our kids,” stated Ballinger.

A statement from Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, states she “is extremely disappointed in today’s dangerously wrong decision by the three-judge panel and plans to seek review by the full 8th Circuit Court of Appeals”.


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