Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders vowed on Wednesday to fight back after a federal judge appointed by Barack Obama struck down a state law aimed at regulating transgender treatment, including sex-change surgeries for children.
In citing U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr.’s ruling, the freshman GOP governor and former Trump White House press secretary slammed him for “pushing a political agenda at the expense of our kids” after he blocked the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act from taking effect.
“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,” he wrote in his ruling.
But Sanders and other state Republican officials pushed back, claiming that the judge’s decision was political, not science- or healthcare-based.
“This is not ‘care’– it’s activists pushing a political agenda at the expense of our kids and subjecting them to permanent and harmful procedures,” Sanders said. “Only in the far-Left’s woke vision of America is it not appropriate to protect children.”
She added: “We will fight this and the Attorney General plans to appeal Judge Moody’s decision to the Eighth Circuit.”
Arkansas AG Tim Griffin noted as well: “I am disappointed in the decision that prevents our state from protecting our children against dangerous medical experimentation under the moniker of ‘gender transition.’ 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. I will continue fighting as long as it takes to stop providers from sterilizing children.”
The state plans to appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court, where 10 of the 11 judges were appointed by Republican presidents. Moody is the only one appointed by a Democrat.
NBC News reported:
The American Civil Liberties Union sued in May 2021 on behalf of four trans minors and their parents, as well as two physicians who provide gender-affirming health care, arguing that it violates the Constitution.
Attorneys for the state relied on five arguments to support the law, according to Moody’s opinion.
They argued that there is a lack of evidence supporting gender-affirming care for minors, that the banned treatment has harmful side effects, that many patients will “desist” or stop identifying as trans when they grow older, that some patients will regret their transitions and that doctors are providing treatment without thorough evaluation and informed consent.
However, Moody wrote, “the evidence presented at trial does not support these assertions.”
He further argued that the state didn’t explain “why only gender-affirming medical care — and all gender-affirming medical care — is singled out for prohibition.”
“The testimony of well-credentialed experts, doctors who provide gender-affirming medical care in Arkansas, and families that rely on that care directly refutes any claim by the State that the Act advances an interest in protecting children,” Moody added.
There are also several medical experts who say there isn’t enough actual data to determine whether such care is actually safe, long-term, for adolescents.