Landmark trial begins over Arkansas’ ban on trans youth care

Oct 16, 2022, 9:14 AM | Updated: Oct 17, 2022, 3:47 pm
FILE - Dylan Brandt speaks at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Ark....

FILE - Dylan Brandt speaks at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Ark., July 21, 2021. Brandt, a teenager, is among several transgender youth and families who are plaintiffs challenging a state law banning gender confirming care for trans minors. The nation’s first trial over a state’s ban on gender-confirming care for children begins in Arkansas on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, the latest fight over restrictions on transgender youth championed by Republican leaders and widely condemned by medical experts. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo, File)

(AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo, File)

              FILE - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 22, 2021, in Washington. The nation's first trial over a state's ban on gender-confirming care for children begins in Arkansas on Monday, Oct, 17, 2022. Arkansas was the first state to enact such a ban on gender-confirming care, with Republican lawmakers in 2021 overriding Hutchinson's veto of the legislation. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
            
              FILE - Dylan Brandt speaks at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Ark., July 21, 2021. Brandt, a teenager, is among several transgender youth and families who are plaintiffs challenging a state law banning gender confirming care for trans minors. The nation’s first trial over a state’s ban on gender-confirming care for children begins in Arkansas on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, the latest fight over restrictions on transgender youth championed by Republican leaders and widely condemned by medical experts. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The nation’s first trial over a state’s ban on gender-confirming care for children began in Arkansas on Monday, the latest fight over restrictions on transgender youths championed by Republican leaders and widely condemned by medical experts.

U.S. District Judge Jay Moody is hearing evidence and testimony over the law he temporarily blocked last year that would prohibit doctors from providing gender-confirming 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.

The families of four transgender youths and two doctors who provide gender-confirming care want Moody to strike down the law, saying it is unconstitutional because it discriminates against transgender youths, intrudes on parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children, and infringes on doctors’ free speech rights. The trial is expected to last at least a week.

“As a parent, I never imagined I’d have to fight for my daughter to be able to receive medically necessary health care her doctor says she needs and we know she needs,” said Lacey Jennen, whose 17-year-old daughter has been receiving gender-confirming care.

Arkansas was the first state to enact such a ban on gender-confirming care, with Republican lawmakers in 2021 overriding GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the legislation. Hutchinson, who had signed other restrictions on transgender youths into law, said the prohibition went too far by cutting off the care for those currently receiving it.

Multiple medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, oppose the bans and experts say the treatments are safe if properly administered.

Dr. Dan Karasic, a psychiatrist called by plaintiffs to testify Monday, rejected many of the criticisms that experts for the state are expected to make about gender-confirming care. They include claims that doctors are providing such care on demand without any assessments and without talking with families about the potential risks.

Karasic, who has treated thousands of people for gender dysphoria, said those actions would violate the standard of care for such treatments and aren’t consistent with what he has seen from other doctors in the field. Karasic is not treating any of the youths challenging Arkansas’ law.

Karasic said the possibility of irresponsible providers isn’t a reason for banning the care for transgender youths.

“There certainly are bad cardiologists, but if I have chest pain, I’d still like to be able to get care,” he said.

But advocates of the 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.”

A similar law has been blocked by a federal judge in Alabama, and a Texas judge has blocked that state’s efforts to investigate gender-confirming care for minors as child abuse. Children’s hospitals around the country have faced harassment and threats of violence for providing gender-confirming care.

“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.

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.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N...
Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions clears Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition that reflects a stark turnaround in societal attitudes. President Joe Biden has said he will promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages. It is a relief […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Thursday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Bremerton 67, Sequim 60 Lynden 52, Lakewood 23 Stanwood 78, Cascade (Everett) 33 Grant County Tournament= Renton 92, McDaniel, Ore. 52 ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Thursday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= DeSales 50, Touchet 23 Emerald Ridge 53, Bellarmine Prep 52 Mark Morris 51, Ridgefield 46 POSTPONEMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS= Bickleton vs. Elkton, Ore., ccd. ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
22 hours ago
A riot police grabs hold of a supporter of ousted President Pedro Castillo outside the police stati...
Associated Press

AP Week in Pictures: Latin America and Caribbean

Dec. 2-8, 2022 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Latin America and the Caribbean. It was curated by AP photo editor Anita Baca in Mexico City. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apnews AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Images AP Images blog: http://apimagesblog.com Copyright © […]
22 hours ago
Single mother Tania Herrera holds her 20-day-old daughter Sara Milena as she breastfeeds her in the...
Associated Press

Chronic malnutrition stalks many poor children in Ecuador

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Sara Milena is barely 20 days old. Her mother, Tania Herrera, lives with her parents, who are the breadwinners of an Ecuadorian household where they earn $5 to $7 a day to feed five adults and support the new arrival. That income is stretched in hopes of feeding the adults twice […]
22 hours ago
Supporters of ousted President Pedro Castillo clash with police during a protest in Lima, Peru, Thu...
Associated Press

New Peru president vows to finish term, others want election

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s first female president is pushing to cement her hold on power, saying she expects to complete the term of her ousted predecessor and buck the trend of presidential failures blighting the Andean nation. Yet, even as Dina Doluarte made the call Thursday, some politicians already were calling for early elections […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Landmark trial begins over Arkansas’ ban on trans youth care