Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

<p>Thousands of New Yorkers are seen pre-pandemic on the streets on July 26, 2017 in opposition to anti-trans policy moves by then-President Donald Trump

Thousands of New Yorkers are seen pre-pandemic on the streets on July 26, 2017 in opposition to anti-trans policy moves by then-President Donald Trump. (Photo: Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Abhorrent': Arkansas Poised to Deny Trans Youth Healthcare

"Stripping youth of this care even when it is recommended by their doctors, supported by their parents, and demanded by the dire situations of the youth is cruel and deadly."

Andrea Germanos

Arkansas is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban healthcare for trans youth after state lawmakers on Monday passed House Bill 157.

The ACLU of Arkansas warned last week that the legislation, which blocks healthcare providers from providing gender-affirming care or referring patients for such care, was "one of the most extreme and harmful anti-trans bills in the country." 

H.B. 1570 easily passed the state Senate Monday in a 28-7 vote. It now heads to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson—who last week signed into law a ban on transgender girls from participating in school sports. Hutchinson is facing demands to veto H.B. 1570 because, as the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund put it, "Trans youth lives are at stake."

Critics of the measure include the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics. Among the state Democrats opposed to the measure is Sen. Clarke Tucker, who addressed Monday the argument put forth by the Republican sponsor of H.B. 1570, state Sen. Alan Clark

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported:

Tucker, D-Little Rock, said bills like this have already been struck down by courts for violating the Equal Protection Clause under the U.S. Constitution and for violating the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex under the federal Civil Rights Act.

"I absolutely have full faith in your intent, Sen. Clark, to protect kids in the state, but you have to be aware of the message that is sent when you pass a piece of legislation like this," and it's a message of discrimination to the rest of the nation, he said.

In a Twitter thread Monday, Clarke continued to speak out against the measure. "My heart breaks for our state, because I know how this bill makes us look to the nation and to the world," he tweeted.

"My heart breaks for doctors and nurses," he wrote, "who can no longer care for their patients, and even more for parents, who are no longer able to make healthcare decisions for their own kids."

"Most important, my heart breaks for transgender teenagers," Clarke continued. "With this bill, the chances go up that a transgender teenager who needs care but can't get it will attempt suicide."

Chase Strangio deputy director for Transgender Justice with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, warned last week that that if H.B. 1570 becomes law, it could "likely set off a chain reaction and could encourage Alabama to pass [its] FELONY ban on healthcare for trans youth (SB10/HB1), which could be voted on next week as well."

"Stripping youth of this care even when it is recommended by their doctors, supported by their parents, and demanded by the dire situations of the youth is cruel and deadly," tweeted Stangio.  

Further troubling to trans rights activists is the fact that the legislative attacks against trans youth in Arkansas are being seen across the nation. As NBC News reported

The bill is one of two types of legislation being considered in more than two dozen states: measures that ban or restrict access to gender-affirming care for trans minors, and those that ban trans young people from competing in school sports teams of their gender identity...

In addition to Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee are also advancing restrictions on gender-affirming care. Alabama's Senate approved a bill that would make it a felony to provide care such as puberty blockers or hormones for trans minors, and a Tennessee House Committee also just advanced a similar measure that includes misdemeanor criminal penalties.

In light of such attacks, trans advocates are amplifying messages of respect and care for the community.

In a message to trans youth posted Monday on its Facebook page, Arkansas-based social justice group Intransitive wrote: "YOU are loved."

"There is more love than there is hate. This is not the end. Please know that," the group said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who is mother to a gender non-conforming child, condemned H.B. 1570 as amounting to "a cruel, abhorrent, and transphobic attack on human rights."

She also called for the House-passed Equality Act to become law, adding, "Let's put an end to this hate."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Scientist Says Some Coral Reefs Can Be Saved 'If We Take Immediate Action'

"People need to be aware this is coming up fast, and the time to explore mitigation techniques is now," warns another researcher behind a recently published study.

Jessica Corbett ·


Ro Khanna Lays Out New Vision for American Manufacturing and Economic Progress

"Embracing a New Economic Patriotism plan isn't just about jobs. It's about unifying Americans—from the coasts to the heartland—with a shared purpose."

Brett Wilkins ·


Peace Groups Push US to Use 'All Points of Leverage' to End Saudi Blockade of Yemen

"The Biden administration must take urgent action to compel Saudi Arabia to completely lift this blockade as a humanitarian act, for the sake of millions of Yemenis in desperate need."

Jessica Corbett ·


Freelance Photographer Says He Was Fired by NYT Over Support for Palestinian Resistance

"What is taking place is a systematic effort to distort the image of Palestinian journalists as being incapable of trustworthiness and integrity, simply because we cover the human rights violations that the Palestinian people undergo on a daily basis at hands of the Israeli army."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Cruel Disregard for Life': Rights Groups Condemn Iran's Deadly Attacks on Protesters

Human Rights Watch documented lethal repression by government forces against protesters "in largely peaceful and often crowded settings, altogether killing and injuring hundreds."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo