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July 14, 2021

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Attorney General Steve Marshall Leads 17 States in Defending Arkansas Ban on Experimental Transgender Treatments for Children

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall led a coalition of 17 states in an amicus brief supporting the right of Arkansas to protect children from experimental transgender treatments that can cause devastating and irreversible damage. The State of Alabama sought leave to file the brief yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Arkansas enacted the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act” in April to prohibit gender transition procedures for minors. Such procedures include the use of puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery. The law is being challenged in the case Brandt v. Rutledge.

“We are filing this brief because, like Arkansas, we are concerned about the surge in recent years of children suffering from gender dysphoria and other forms of gender-related psychological distress,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Like Arkansas–and like those challenging the SAFE Act – we are concerned because these vulnerable children are suffering greatly and need help. The vital questions are, how do we help them, and how do we avoid serious irreversible damage.”

The current trend in the United States toward gender-reassignment treatments for children is unsupported by reliable scientific evidence, the brief contends, noting that other countries such as Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom consider such procedures to be experimental.

“One of the few things we know in this area is that most cases of gender dysphoria in children resolve naturally with time, and it’s impossible to know ahead of time whose dysphoria will persist into adulthood and whose won’t. Yet the evidence also shows that nearly all children whose gender dysphoria is treated with puberty blockers to ‘buy time’ will proceed to take cross-sex hormones and seek other medical interventions with irreversible, lifelong
consequences – complications such as infertility, loss of sexual function, increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, bone density problems, risk of altered brain development, social risks from delayed puberty, and mental health concerns,” said Attorney General Marshall.

“Add to this the fact that children cannot weigh long-term risks as adults do because their brains are still developing and they lack life experience. Arkansas recognized how unfair it is to ask children to make a decision with life-long consequences and very little evidence to support the intervention.”

“With the stakes so high, the harms so great, and the known benefits so paltry, the Arkansas legislature did not have to embrace an experimental path in lieu of the one that has served the medical profession so well for so long: First, do no harm.”

Attorney General Marshall was joined in the brief by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

The brief may be read here.

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