Arkansas Can’t Enforce Ban On Child Sex Changes, Federal Court Rules

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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A federal appeals court blocked Arkansas from enforcing its ban on medical sex change treatments for children in a Thursday ruling.

The law, passed by state legislators in March 2021, was temporarily blocked by a district court that July on the grounds that it may violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment relating to discrimination based on sex, and would cause “irreparable harm” to minors. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling Thursday, and the district judge will decide in October whether to permanently ban the law.

The legislation banned certain medical procedures performed on children who identify as transgender, ranging from puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to surgeries. Arkansas’s attorney general plans to appeal the decision to a higher court, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Major Medical Org Distances Itself From Child Sex Change Treatments)

The lawsuit that triggered the case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of four transgender children and their families and two doctors. The ACLU claimed that transgender children who do not receive cross-sex medical treatments are at heightened risk of suicide, a common talking point among transgender activists promoting medical interventions for youths.

“Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that no child should be denied medical care they need,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “We are relieved for trans youth. Research shows that denying gender-affirming care to transgender youth contributes to depression, isolation, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide.”

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