Arkansas Guv Asa Hutchinson's veto on bill banning trans minor health experiments overturned by legislature

The GOP-controlled legislature voted to override Governor Asa Hutchinson who vetoed the bill on April 5 saying it was a product of America's culture war

                            Arkansas Guv Asa Hutchinson's veto on bill banning trans minor health experiments overturned by legislature
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has faced opposition from his own party over vetoing a bill banning experimental genital mutilation and hormone treatments (Getty Images)

The Republican Party in Arkansas saw itself divided as the GOP-controlled legislature and GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson differed over a bill banning experimental genital mutilation and hormone treatments for those below 18 years. The bill by GOP Rep. Robin Lundstrum and Sen. Alan Clark -- HB 1570 or Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act -- makes the Natural State the first in the country to bar doctors from administering hormone treatment, puberty blockers or other treatment to minors.

Hutchinson on Monday, April 5, vetoed the bill which was passed on March 29 and told reporters that he did so since he thought it is a “government overreach” and would have created “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people”. The GOP leader also called the legislation “a product of the cultural war in America” and applied his veto even while believing that the bill was “well-intended”. But the state’s General Assembly hit back on Tuesday, April 6, to override Hutchinson’s veto. The House voted 71-24 while the Senate voted 25-8 with 2 “leave" to override the governor's veto.


What is HB 1570? Arkansas anti-trans bill stirs row as LGBTQ activists ask Guv Asa Hutchinson to veto legislation

What are puberty blockers? Arkansas bans doctors from prescribing drug to transgender youth under 18

The governor predicted that the GOP-controlled assembly of Arkansas was likely to override his veto saying it would take only a simple majority for doing so and his fears came to be true just a day later. "I am hopeful, though, that my action will cause conservative Republican legislators to think through the issue again and hopefully come up with a more restrained approach that allows a thoughtful study of the science and ethics surrounding the issue before acting," Hutchinson said. 

Arkansas legislature applauded

Hutchinson, whose act of vetoing pleasantly surprised the transgender community, recently signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” banning biological men from taking part in female sporting activities. The Republicans in Arkansas were not happy with the governor opposing the piece of legislation on minors' protection. Conservative education and research group Family Council was elated after the legislature took the step to override Hutchinson’s veto and said in a statement: “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.”



It added: “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.”

Ryan T Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and author of “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” said tampering with the normal physical development of a child for the sake of “gender identity” is unethical.

“Prudent legislation is needed to prevent adults from interfering with a child’s normal, natural bodily development. Thankfully, the Arkansas legislature has refused to cave to Big Business special interests. More states should follow their example,” Anderson was quoted as saying by The Federalist.

The overriding of the governor’s veto came after a number of other prominent conservative figures voiced opposition as well.