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Noah Feldman

Medical Ban for Trans Kids Is Morally Repugnant, Yet Likely Legal

State governments have a surprising amount of leeway in banning therapies  they don’t like.

Trans kids face enough obstacles already.

Trans kids face enough obstacles already.

Photographer: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Over a veto by the state’s Republican governor, Arkansas has passed a bill, known as the SAFE Act, prohibiting range of gender transition medical treatments for people under 18, with some minor exceptions. It covers hormone therapies known as puberty blockers that can prescribed to transgender children to inhibit the sex hormones that drive the onset of puberty.

The law is morally repugnant, overriding the decisions of medical professionals, parents, and transgender teens and kids. Nevertheless, forthcoming legal challenges, which the ACLU has said it will bring, face an uphill battle.