Politics

Tom Cotton Slams ‘Liberal Activists’ For Blocking Arkansas Ban On ‘Dangerous and Life-Altering’ Sex-Change Procedures For Minors

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • A federal judge temporarily blocked the enforcement of a highly publicized Arkansas law banning transgender procedures for minors.
  • Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act, prohibits physicians from performing sex-change procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries, on minors.
  • Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed the SAFE Act earlier this year, but the state legislature overrode his veto, making Arkansas the first state to ban the procedures for minors. 
  • “Our legislature made the reasonable decision to protect minors from dangerous and life-altering drugs, hormones, and surgeries,” Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement. 

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of a highly publicized Arkansas law banning sex-change procedures for minors.

Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act, prohibits physicians from performing sex-change procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries, on minors.

U.S. District Judge Jay Moody blocked the SAFE Act on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, saying that it would cause “irreparable harm” to minors. It was set to go into effect July 28. (RELATED: Here’s Why Noem Fought South Dakota’s Bill Banning Biological Males From Women’s Sports)

Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton slammed the decision in a Wednesday afternoon statement.

“Our legislature made the reasonable decision to protect minors from dangerous and life-altering drugs, hormones, and surgeries,” he said. “Against the will of Arkansans, liberal activists have now put those children back in harm’s way.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had filed a lawsuit against the SAFE Act in May, arguing that the law would violate the constitutional rights of transgender minors.

ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson praised the ruling Wednesday, saying it “sends a clear message to states across the country that gender affirming care is life-saving care, and we won’t let politicians in Arkansas — or anywhere else — take it away,” the AP reported.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the organization is “disappointed but not surprised” at the temporary hold, calling sex-change procedures for minors “unscientific, experimental, and destructive.”

“The legal challenge to this law is being mounted by a political movement that advocates for using off-label drugs and experimental procedures on minors,” he said. “Yet a growing number of individuals are coming forward to share their stories of being permanently disfigured and/or sterilized from procedures such as puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries. The truth about the dangers of these life altering procedures cannot be ignored.”

Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson drew fire from conservatives when he vetoed the SAFE Act earlier this year, describing the bill as a “vast government overreach,” and adding that the state shouldn’t jump into every “medical, human, and ethical issue.”

The state legislature overrode his veto in April, making Arkansas the first state to ban the procedures for minors. His veto was met with swift criticism from conservatives like the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, who called Hutchinson a “useless coward” and “worthless wimp.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson also criticized Hutchinson, accusing the governor of being “pro-choice for chemical castration.” (RELATED: Tucker Carlson Criticizes Arkansas Governor: ‘You Have Come Out Publicly As Pro-Choice On The Question Of Chemical Castration Of Children’)

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“I think of you as a conservative,” Carlson said. “Here you have come out publicly as pro-choice on the question of chemical castration of children. What changed?”

Hutchinson told Carlson that the bill went “far beyond” banning the chemical castration of children. (RELATED: Kristi Noem Wavers On Bill Banning Biological Males From Women’s Sports)

“This bill was extreme,” the governor said. “And if it clear that this was about prohibiting procedures of sex reassignment surgery, absolutely, I would have signed that bill.”

“But this was the first law in the nation that invokes the state between medical decisions, parents who consent to that, and the decision of the patient,” Hutchinson continued. “And so, this goes way too far.”

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