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July 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Seventeen states are backing an Arkansas law that bans experimental, life-threatening transgender procedures for children and adolescents. 

A coalition of state attorneys general, led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, filed an amicus brief last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, arguing that “Arkansas was well within its right to prohibit such experimentation on children.” 

Arkansas lawmakers enacted the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act in April, prohibiting medical professionals from providing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or “sex change” surgeries to gender-confused minors. The far-left nonprofit American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued Arkansas the following month to block the law in Brandt v. Rutledge.  

Along with Marshall, the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas joined the friend-of-the-court brief in support of the SAFE Act. 

“Like Arkansas, amici are concerned about the surge in recent years of children suffering from gender dysphoria and other forms of gender-related psychological distress,” the brief stated, adding that “these vulnerable children are suffering greatly and need help.” 

“The question is how to help them.” 

“Spend just a little time with the scientific literature in this field and a few things become abundantly clear: the science in this area is largely unsettled; nearly everyone agrees that far more research is needed; and the currently popular approach to care in the United States is not supported by well-researched, evidence-based studies,” the document continued. 

The Republican attorneys general noted that while the vast majority of minors grow out of gender dysphoria naturally, research indicates that virtually all those who start puberty blockers advance to cross-sex hormones and other irreversible interventions, like mutilating surgeries.  

Complications from the practices include “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,” the amicus brief said.  

“Sadly, but for the ‘gender-affirming’ ‘care’ they received … most of these children would neither suffer from gender dysphoria nor from lifelong medical harm as adults.” 

The brief also pointed to recent decisions by hospitals in United Kingdom, Finland, and Sweden to sideline transgender drugs and surgeries for minors, amid growing awareness of the lack of evidence for the practices. 

“As far as minors are concerned, there are no medical treatment[s] that can be considered evidence-based,” the Council for Choices in Healthcare in Finland acknowledged last June.  

The Finnish council stressed that a minor subjected to “gender transitioning” must understand “the reality of a lifelong commitment to medical therapy” and “the permanence of the effects” of the procedures. “Although patients may experience regret, after reassignment treatments, there is no going back to the non-reassigned body and its normal functions.” 

“There is very little reason to think that a child in early adolescence can properly weigh these lifetime risks,” the attorneys generals argued, “particularly when the popular narrative and many doctors … so distort what the evidence shows regarding the possible benefits of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical interventions.” 

They highlighted the “heartbreaking” stories of detransitioners – individuals who come to regret their “transitions” – like testimony included in a lawsuit that led the U.K.’s High Court of Justice to ban transgender drugs for most minors last year:  

It is only until recently that I have started to think about having children and if that is ever a possibility, I have to live with the fact that I will not be able to breastfeed my children. I still do not believe that I have fully processed the surgical procedure that I had to remove my breasts and how major it really was. I made a brash decision as a teenager, (as a lot of teenagers do) trying to find confidence and happiness, except now the rest of my life will be negatively affected. I cannot reverse any of the physical, mental or legal changes that I went through. Transition was a very temporary, superficial fix for a very complex identity issue.  

“Plaintiffs and their amici prefer to ignore these stories and needs, promising instead that hormonal and surgical interventions for gender dysphoric youth are medically necessary and safe,” the attorneys general said. 

“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.”