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U.S. District Judge Jay Moody struck down a law passed in Arkansas to ban transgender surgeries and other treatments for minors.
The law was passed by the Arkansas legislature in April 2021 after the state Senate overturned a veto by then-Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican. It was the first of such laws passed in several states.
Moody said that the law was contrary to the due process clause and equal protection rights of transgender people. He also ruled that a provision in the law forbidding medical professionals from referring patients for treatment elsewhere was in violation of free speech rights.
"Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that, by prohibiting it, the State undermined the interests it claims to be advancing," wrote Moody in the ruling.
The law would have banned puberty blockers and surgery for children.
Transgender activists were closely watching the legal battle over the law in Arkansas as a bellwether for other efforts to ban child transgender treatments in conservative leaning states.
Republican Attorney General Tim Griffin said the state would be appealing the ruling to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
"I am disappointed in the decision that prevents our state from protecting our children against dangerous medical experimentation under the moniker of ‘gender transition,’" said Griffin in a statement.
"Unfortunately, Judge Moody misses what is widely understood across the United States and in the United Kingdom and European countries: There is no scientific evidence that any child will benefit from these procedures, while the consequences are harmful and often permanent," he added. "I will continue fighting as long as it takes to stop providers from sterilizing children."
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized the ruling.
"Only in the far-Left’s woke vision of America is it not appropriate to protect children," she tweeted. "We will fight this and the Attorney General plans to appeal Judge Moody’s decision to the Eighth Circuit."
The issue is likely to grow in prominence as the 2024 election approaches. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has issued statements unapologetically in support of transgender rights while most Republicans support legal restrictions on transgender operations and treatments for children.
Here's more about the judgement against the law:
Arkansas judge overturns ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minorswww.youtube.com
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Carlos Garcia is a staff writer for Blaze News.