Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had vetoed a bill banning gender-affirming care, but the state legislature overrode the veto by a 71-24 vote. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/139d306ffb5810b86b20f416c21f412e/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had vetoed a bill banning gender-affirming care, but the state legislature overrode the veto by a 71-24 vote. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 25 (UPI) — A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld an injunction against an Arkansas law that bans transgender medical treatment for minors.

A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit ordered a federal judge’s preliminary junction to stay in place until the constitutionality of Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act” is determined.

The court agreed with the plaintiff’s argument that transgender youth would suffer irreparable harm without an injunction.

“The district court did not err in concluding Act 626 is not substantially related to Arkansas’s interests in protecting children from experimental medical treatment and regulating medical ethics,” the three-judge panel said in their ruling.

The bill at issue prohibits health care professionals from providing or referring minors for gender-affirming care. It also bars state funds or insurance from covering transgender health services to minors. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had vetoed the bill, the state legislature overrode the veto by a 71-24 vote.

In 2021, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit, arguing that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause by discriminating on the basis of sex.

Holly Dickson, the executive director of the Arkansas ACLU, said Thursday’s ruling reaffirms that no child should be denied medical care.

“Research shows that denying gender-affirming care to transgender youth contributes to depression, isolation, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide,” Dickson said in a statement. “Transgender people deserve the right to live healthy lives without fear and discrimination. It’s time for the Arkansas Legislature to protect trans kids, not target them.”

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