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Arkansas governor vetoes protections for minors

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. Associated Press/Photo by Tommy Metthe/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (file)

Arkansas governor vetoes protections for minors

Gov. Asa Hutchinson could have made his state the first one to safeguard children from the irreversible, life-altering effects of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex change surgeries. But instead he vetoed the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act on Monday.

Why did he do it? He said he would have signed the bill if it prohibited only transgender surgery on minors, but it went too far to interfere with the relationship between physicians and parents. He also did not like that it would not have made exceptions for children already receiving hormone treatments. Hutchinson recently gave the bill’s supporters hope he would sign it by approving laws protecting women’s sports from transgender participation and preserving doctors’ rights to conscientiously object to treatments such as cross-sex hormones. Arkansas is one of few states in which the legislature can override the governor’s veto with a simple majority, so the SAFE Act could still take effect.

Dig deeper: Read Mary Jackson’s report on the SAFE Act and why supporters say it is needed.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is WORLD’s executive editor for news. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.



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