Arkansas Governor’s Veto of Trans Health Care Ban Affirms People and Providers Know What’s Best for Patients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

April 5, 2021  

CONTACT: Jack Cardinal, jcardinal@communitycatalyst.org, (781) 960-5208 

(BOSTON, MA) – Today, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed House Bill 1570, a first-of-its-kind bill that aims to criminalize gender-affirming health care for transgender and non-binary youth. Hutchinson’s veto follows weeks of national outcry from LGBTQ+ activists, health care advocates, pediatricians and mental health care professionals who emphasize the care banned in this bill is proven safe, and has a record of drastically improving the mental health and wellbeing of trans youth. 

The Arkansas state Legislature could still vote to override the governor’s veto with a simple majority. If they do, Arkansas would be the first state to issue such a ban, but more than two dozen states are considering similar legislation. 

This development in the onslaught of transphobic legislation comes as NBC News reports a 266% increase in the rate of lethal violence against trans and non-binary people across the country. Advocates say the violence has been fueled by anti-LGBTQ+ stigma reinforced by Trump administration policies in tandem with lack of gender-inclusive health and social services. 

Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, in response to Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson’s decision to veto House Bill 1570: 

“Transgender and non-binary youth deserve the best care possible, and that includes gender-affirming health services, full stop. Gov. Hutchinson’s decision to veto HB 1570 is the result of the tireless organizing of trans youth, doctors and parents in Arkansas who fought back against this deeply discriminatory bill. We remain concerned at the prospect of a legislative override, and stand behind the advocates, organizers and community members pushing legislators to do take the right and just course of action.  

“Access to gender-affirming care has proven life saving for trans and non-binary people and Arkansas lawmakers should abandon this hateful, mean-spirited policy and let doctors do their jobs. That means letting trans and non-binary youth and their providers decide what care is best for them. Community Catalyst hopes lawmakers in other states considering similarly harmful legislation will follow suit, and we are ready to join our allies in fighting back if these attacks on access to health care continue.”  

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About Community Catalyst:  
Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state, and national advocates to leverage community power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, statehouses, and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.

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