Federal judge blocks Arkansas trans youth treatment ban

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Trans pride flags flutter in the wind at a gathering to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked enforcement of Arkansas’ ban on gender confirming treatments for transgender youth while a lawsuit challenging the prohibition proceeds.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in May asking U.S. District Judge Jay Moody in Little Rock to strike down the law that made Arkansas the first state to forbid doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or sex reassignment surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for such treatment. The ACLU sought the preliminary injunction while its lawsuit proceeded.

The law had been set to take effect July 28.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of four transgender youths and their families, as well as two doctors who provide gender confirming treatments. The lawsuit argues that the prohibition would severely harm transgender youth in the state and violate their constitutional rights.

Arkansas’ Republican-dominated Legislature overrode GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the measure. Hutchinson vetoed the ban following pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youths who said it would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide.

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