On Monday, Arkansas’ state Senate passed the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE)” Act. The said measure is now heading to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk to be signed into law.
The state’s government expressed interest in protecting its citizens, “especially vulnerable children” in terms of health and safety. According to the bill, the children who do not conform to gender or who express distress in identifying with their biological sex eventually “come to identify” with it as they reach adolescence or adulthood. This, then, makes most physiological interventions not needed.
The bill then continues to say that studies show people struggling with identifying with the sex they were born with often “have already experienced psychopathology. Therefore, they should be encouraged to seek help through mental health services to find and address any comorbidities or underlying causes that are factors to their distress prior to receiving any physiological interventions.
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SAFE Act Provisions
The SAFE Act bans the following:
- A healthcare professional, including physicians, from providing any person under 18 gender transition procedures.
- Any healthcare professional, including physicians, from referring any person below 18 years of age to any other healthcare professional for transition procedures.
- Public funding, whether directly or indirectly used, given, paid, or distributed, for any organization, individual or other entities that could provide the said transition procedures to people below 18 years of age.
The said measure cites a few exceptions for specific medical circumstances. In such scenarios, physicians have permission to use certain procedures and/or treatments.
Those who break the provisions of this act are subject to disciplinary action provided by the relevant licensing entity. Alternatively, they are subject to disciplinary action provided by a “review board with competent jurisdiction” in the state of Arkansas. Additionally, the state’s attorney general can get involved in the cases to “enforce compliance.”