Arkansas Youth Gender Change Law Struck Down In Court

A recently-passed Arkansas law that barred gender change treatments for youths was struck down in federal court this week.

District Judge Jay Moody, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, issued a ruling permanently preventing its implementation Tuesday. Moody had previously blocked the law’s enactment in 2021. 

“Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that, by prohibiting it, the state undermined the interests it claims to be advancing,” the judge wrote.

The decision may not be the end of the legal battle over the law. Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin (R) said that he would appeal the decision.

The judge argued in his decision that the law violated the rights of due process and equal protection under the law.

“I am disappointed in the decision that prevents our state from protecting our children against dangerous medical experimentation under the moniker of ‘gender transition,'” he said.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) called such gender changes for minors “activists pushing a political agenda at the expense of our kids.”

“Only in the far-Left’s woke vision of America is it not appropriate to protect children,” she said.

The governor signed a bill in March which would allow an easier legal path to sue medical facilities that perform such treatments. The law will come into effect this summer.

The court decision may have a significant impact on state laws regarding gender transitions for minors. 

Arkansas was the first state to pass such a law and several states, including Texas and Florida, recently passed their own versions. The gender transition ban was passed in 2021 over the veto of former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R). Hutchinson is currently seeking the 2024 GOP nomination for president.

Last week, a judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, partially blocked an Indiana ban on gender change treatment for youths. District Court Judge James Patrick Hanlon blocked the ban on puberty blockers and hormones but allowed the barring of gender change surgeries to proceed.