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'This is About Protecting Children': Landmark Trial Begins Over Arkansas' Ban on Gender-Altering Procedures for Minors


The nation's first trial over a state's ban on gender-altering procedures for children begins in Arkansas this week. 

U.S. District Judge Jay Moody was scheduled to hear testimony and evidence Monday over the law he temporarily blocked last year prohibiting doctors from providing gender hormone treatment, puberty blockers, or surgery to anyone under 18 years old. It also prevents doctors from referring patients elsewhere for such care.

If the law takes effect, doctors who violate the ban could lose their licenses or face other professional disciplinary measures and could be sued.

Arkansas was the first state to enact such a ban on gender-altering procedures. 

Republican lawmakers in 2021 succeeded in overriding GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto of the legislation. Hutchinson, who had signed another law in 2021 banning transgender individuals who identify as female from competing in women and girls school sports teams, said the prohibition went too far by cutting off the care for those currently receiving it.

Some medical groups, including the American Medical Association, oppose the bans. However, last August, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) appeared to backpedal, saying that for the vast majority of children it does not recommend medical treatment or surgery. In 2018, it called the watchful waiting method, which delays medical treatment, an outdated approach.

As CBN News has reported, while the Biden administration is doing everything it legally can to push gender change procedures for children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of serious side effects caused by puberty blockers. 

The FDA announced a warning in July about puberty blockers known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH) that if injected into children could cause swelling of the brain, headache, blurred or loss of vision, tinnitus, dizziness, and nausea. 

The FDA said six cases were identified in young girls aged 5 to 12 years that had a plausible association between the puberty blockers use and pseudotumor cerebri, which the Mayo Clinic identifies as the pressure inside the skull increasing for no obvious reason. The condition is also identified as idiopathic intracranial hypertension in which symptoms mimic a brain tumor. 

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Advocates of the Arkansas law have argued the prohibition is within the state's authority to regulate medical practices.

"This is about protecting children," Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said. "Nothing about this law prohibits someone after the age of 18 from making this decision. What we're doing in Arkansas is protecting children from life-altering, permanent decisions."

Currently, three other states – Alabama, Arizona, and Texas – have passed laws barring gender-altering procedures including the use of puberty blockers, hormone treatments, or surgical procedures for children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria. But three of those state's laws (Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas) have been temporarily blocked by judges.

Arizona's law does not go into effect until March 31, 2023. 

"This latest wave of anti-trans fever that is now spreading to other states started in Arkansas and it needs to end in Arkansas," said Holly Dickson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the families of four transgender children. 

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August upheld Moody's preliminary injunction blocking the ban's enforcement. But the state has asked the full 8th Circuit appeals court to review the case.

Florida Released Own Guidelines About Gender Confusion in Children 

As CBN News reported last April, Florida's Department of Health (DOH) rebuked the guidance issued by the Biden administration on gender dysphoria treatment for children and adolescents, releasing its own guidelines instead. 

The Sunshine State said that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones should not be used to treat gender confusion in children.

"A paper published in the International Review of Psychiatry states that 80% of those seeking clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the non-birth sex," the memo continued. "One review concludes that 'hormonal treatments for transgender adolescents can achieve their intended physical effects, but evidence regarding their psychosocial and cognitive impact is generally lacking," the Florida DOH wrote in its memo. 

"The federal government's medical establishment releasing guidance failing at the most basic level of academic rigor shows that this was never about health care," Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in a press release. "It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children. Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18." 

The Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord. Do you have questions about children, parenting, discipline, or family life? CBN has wonderful resources for you!

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