Trans rights
Transgender rights activist waves a transgender flag AFP

A federal appeals court began hearing arguments on Thursday about whether to reinstate a ban on gender-affirming care in Arkansas. The focus is whether the restriction discriminates on the basis of sex.

Ten judges with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis will determine whether to uphold a ruling from a judge who deemed the ban unconstitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the law on behalf of four transgender minors and their parents, arguing it interferes with the latter's right to make decision about the former's medical care.

The law, passed in 2021, prevents doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to minors.

The case is emblematic as at least 24 states have adopted similar laws restricting or outright banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, with most of them facing lawsuits.

Dylan Jacobs, deputy solicitor general for Arkansas, said the law doesn't discriminate on the basis of sex because the treatments are only banned when used for gender-affirming purposes, The Associated Press reported.

"Minors may be prescribed testosterone for any purpose other than gender transition under this statute," he said.

The case is likely to end up before the Supreme Court, which has been asked to block laws of the kind in other states like Kentucky and Tennessee.

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