Politics & Policy

Arkansas Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto, Bans Gender-Transition Surgery for Minors

Former congressman Asa Hutchinson speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., December 21, 2012. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters )

The Arkansas General Assembly voted Tuesday to enact a ban on gender transition surgery for minors, overriding a veto by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Arkansas is the first state to ban transition surgery for minors, although similar legislation is under consideration in other states. The bill also prohibits doctors in Arkansas from administering hormones or puberty blockers to residents under age 18.

Hutchinson acknowledged on Monday that the General Assembly would likely override his veto, which state lawmakers can do with a simple majority vote.

However, Hutchinson said the bill “would put the state as the definitive oracle of medical care, overriding parents, patients, and health care experts,” adding that the legislation was an example of government “overreach.”

“Government under a conservative philosophy should be restrained,” Hutchinson said. “This is an example of where restraint is better than over-broad actions that interfere with important relationships in our society.”

Hutchinson’s veto came after South Dakota governor Kristi Noem vetoed a state bill that would have restricted girls’ sports at public schools to biological females. Noem said her veto stemmed from concerns over possible punitive measures from national organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union or the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The South Dakota legislature will consider overriding Noem’s veto, which would require the support of two-thirds of state lawmakers.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is also a violist, and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces.


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