FRC Urges Arkansas Legislature Override Veto of SAFE Act and Protect Children

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Joshua Arnold, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act passed overwhelmingly through both chambers of the Arkansas legislature, unfortunately, Governor Asa Hutchinson appeared to yield to the sirens of the Left and issued a last-minute veto. Family Research Council urges the legislature to override the veto and provide children with critical protections from experimental gender transition procedures. If enacted, the SAFE Act would prevent gender transition procedures for minors, protect taxpayers and medical insurance providers from being mandated by government to pay for such procedures, and provide legal remedies for minors who have been permanently disfigured and/or sterilized by them.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"The Arkansas legislature has demonstrated leadership and courage in the face of the Left's campaign of deception combined with spineless wokeism of Corporate America. The legislature cannot stop now and deprive Arkansas's children of this much needed protection. Under the leadership of Rep. Robin Lundstrum and Sen. Alan Clark, the Arkansas legislature courageously passed the first-of-its-kind protection for minors from experimental gender transition procedures.

"The harmful gender ideology sweeping across our nation creates a growing and urgent need for legislative protections for children vulnerable to life-altering procedures such as puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries. Research has not shown that these procedures are effective in improving patient's mental health. They have serious negative side effects, up to and including permanent sterilization--thus violating the most fundamental principle of medical ethics, 'First, do no harm.' While the governor called for a narrower bill, he did not seem to recognize that gender transition procedures are off-label, irreversible, and (as the name of the bill indicates) experimental. It is never appropriate to experiment on our children, no matter how politically expedient.

"These unscientific, destructive gender transition procedures should not be allowed to interrupt the development of children and irreversibly alter their bodies. A growing number of individuals are coming forward to share their stories about being permanently maimed, highlighting the need for legal remedies. The SAFE Act addresses this critical need while also ensuring that the government never uses taxpayer dollars to pay for experiments that will damage the lives of the next generation.

"Family Research Council urges the Arkansas General Assembly to override Governor Hutchinson's veto and pass the SAFE Act into law to protect vulnerable children from experimental procedures that cause physiological trauma for those dealing with gender dysphoria."

"Minors cannot drive cars, purchase cigarettes, or consume alcohol legally. Parents cannot take newborn infants home from the hospital without a car seat or allow children to ride in an automobile without a seatbelt. In Arkansas, minors cannot purchase NyQuil over the counter. Yet in the absence of this legislation they would have a green light to alter and even do irreversible harm to their bodies," concluded Perkins.

Arkansas is one of 18 states this year to introduce legislation aimed at prohibiting gender transition procedures on minors:

For more information, please see this FRC Issue Analysis: