LITTLE ROCK – The ACLU of Arkansas today issued the following statement regarding the Arkansas Legislature’s passage of House Bill 1570, which would prohibit healthcare professionals from providing or even referring transgender young people for medically necessary health care. The bill also bars any state funds for gender-affirming health care for transgender people under 18, and it would allow private insurers to refuse to cover gender-affirming care for people of any age.
“Medical decisions belong to trans youth, their parents, and their doctor – not the government,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “This bill flies in the face of common decency, basic human rights, and the advice of every major medical association – not to mention federal law. What could possibly be more cruel than trying to take away a child’s access to the care that could save their life?
“By passing this cruel and discriminatory legislation, Arkansas legislators ignored the pleas of parents, doctors, and trans young people themselves. Make no mistake: denying trans people health care because of who they are is wrong and illegal, and we’ll be ready to take this fight to court if this bill becomes law. But it doesn’t have to come to that. The whole country is watching whether Arkansas will continue this discriminatory race to the bottom that has cost other states millions. House Bill 1570 is the codification of cruelty, and for the well-being of all Arkansans, Governor Hutchinson should veto this cruel and harmful bill the moment it reaches his desk. If he doesn’t, we will see the state in court.”
Earlier today, actor and activist Laverne Cox joined the American Academy of Pediatrics for a virtual press conference to urge Arkansas legislators to oppose House Bill 1570, and called on Governor Hutchinson to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
The recording of the event is online here.