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Arkansas governor vetoes bill banning gender-confirming treatment for transgender youth

The governor said the intentions behind the legislation were "well-intended but off course." 

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Governors Virus updates Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, speaks in Little Rock Ark. Hutchinson says he's not ready to further ease restrictions on businesses as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continue to spike. Hutchinson on Thursday, June 25, 2020, said Arkansas' plans to further lift restrictions remains on pause after neighboring Texas halted its aggressive reopening of businesses. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP File)

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would ban gender-confirming treatment for the state’s transgender youth. 

According to ABC News, the announcement was made during a news conference on Monday. 

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The bill, titled the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, bans doctors from providing gender-affirming healthcare to transgender minors. This includes hormones, puberty blockers and transition-related surgeries. 

Hutchinson said the intentions behind the legislation were “well-intended but off course.” 

He also said he had an issue with the bill’s impact on patients already taking treatments. 

“This is a government overreach,” he said. “You are starting to let lawmakers interfere with healthcare and set a standard for legislation overriding healthcare. The state should not presume to jump into every ethical health decision.” 

According to the Associated Press, this is the latest measure targeting transgender people. Hutchinson and the governors of Mississippi and Tennessee recently banned transgender girls and women from competing on sports teams that align with their gender identity. 

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Hutchinson also recently signed a measure that allows doctors to refuse treatment to someone because of moral or religious objections.