Teen Suicide Attempts Have Spiked Since Arkansas Banned Trans Health Care, Says Local Doctor

Teen Suicide Attempts Have Spiked Since Arkansas Banned Trans Health Care, Says Local Doctor

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Arkansas recently became the first state to ban trans health care and gender-affirming services for minors, and the result has proven devastating. Specifically, according to at least one doctor, the Arkansas trans health care ban for minors has seen a spike in teen suicide attempts.

The Arkansas ban — HB 1570 — has been called the “single most extreme anti-trans law” by the ACLU. It prohibits professionals from providing medically necessary health care for young trans folks, bars state funds for gender-affirming health care for minors and allows private insurers to refuse coverage to trans people of any age.

In addition to recklessly endangering the lives of trans folks all over the state, the Arkansas trans health care ban also seeks to punish the health care providers who simply want to do the right thing. Under HB 1570, “Doctors who provide medically necessary care to trans youth … risk losing their licenses and [are] subject to lawsuits by individuals and the state.”

Dr. Michele Hutchison of Arkansas Children’s Hospital stated, “My families are in a state of panic, asking what state should they move to, saying their child is threatening to kill themselves. They want to know what they should do next, and we don’t have a clear answer for them.”

As a result of the law, Dr. Hutchison has reported that four of her own patients have attempted suicide. Another health care professional has expressed concern that families without the resources to permanently move out of the state are trying to figure out how to cross state lines to access gender-affirming medication and health care.

The ACLU warned the public about the potential repercussions of this law, and the risk it puts on the most vulnerable of citizens:

A study in the medical journal Pediatrics already confirmed that access to puberty blockers lowers the risk of suicide significantly in trans youth. This Arkansas ban, on the other hand, sends a very clear message to young trans people. It says we don’t value your lives.

Activist and writer Raquel Willis sums up the issue succinctly:

The Arkansas ban on gender-affirming and trans health care for young people, plainly, is abhorrent and terrifying. More so, it’s inhumane.

What are your thoughts on the Arkansas trans health care ban for minors?

Photo at top: The Gender Spectrum Collection

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