Though an appeal is expected, a federal judge has ruled in conclusive terms against a set of restrictions on gender-affirming care that were made law in Arkansas over objections from then-GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson, who has since announced an extremely longshot bid for president. The ruling was on the merits and constituted what will be a permanent block if upheld by other judicial authorities.
The ban would have broadly blocked minors in the state from accessing gender-affirming care, which is broadly backed by major medical organizations, who it defies basic logic to suggest are engaged in some kind of conspiracy to pull a fast one on the American people. It’s also not necessarily the case that just transgender people seeking to align themselves more closely with their gender identity are the only prospective patients even seeking gender-affirming care.
As explained in a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which was behind the successful challenge to the Arkansas ban, the law was also written to allow private insurers the option of denying payment for gender-affirming care for Arkansans of any age.
The judge who ruled in this case, federal District Court Judge James M. Moody, Jr., found that the Arkansas restrictions were in violation of a series of rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Invoked portions of that guiding legal document included the Equal Protection Clause, the Due Process Clauses, and the First Amendment. Families of transgender young people were among those who joined this case, and one such teenager provided a personal statement after Moody’s ruling that was distributed by the ACLU.
“I’m so grateful the judge heard my experience of how this health care has changed my life for the better and saw the dangerous impact this law could have on my life and that of countless other transgender people,” Dylan Brandt, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Arkansas, said. “My mom and I wanted to fight this law not just to protect my health care, but also to ensure that transgender people like me can safely and fully live our truths.”
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Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons