Judge Rules Expert Can Testify in Favor of SAFE Act

On Tuesday U.S. District Judge James Moody ruled that his court would accept expert testimony from professor Mark Regnerus, Ph. D., as part of the lawsuit over Arkansas’ Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act.

The state legislature passed the SAFE Act last year. The law protects children in Arkansas from sex-reassignment procedures and hormones. Unfortunately, it has been tied up in federal court for the past 14 months.

Dr. Regnerus is a published author and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He has studied and written extensively about sexual orientation and the science of transgender medicine.

Dr. Regnerus is critical of the ways in which doctors today are pressured to help children with gender dysphoria “transition” from one sex to the other.

The plaintiffs who are suing to overturn the SAFE Act asked Judge Moody to exclude expert testimony from Dr. Regnerus. However, on Tuesday Judge Moody ruled that Dr. Regnerus could offer expert testimony.

In a declaration he filed in the SAFE Act lawsuit last year, Dr. Regnerus made several key points regarding minors with gender dysphoria, including the following:

  • The science surrounding gender identity remain in flux.
  • The demographics of transgender youth is changing in ways that scientists do not yet understand.
  • Randomized clinical trials do not support the adolescent gender transition processes that many doctors in America use.

Dr. Regnerus goes on to point out that the number of children who identify as transgender has inexplicably skyrocketed in Western countries over the past 20 years, and that this sudden rise is particularly pronounced among biological girls.

Dr. Regnerus’ words from last year are almost prescient given how the U.K.’s National Health Services recently closed its Tavistock gender clinic that for many years gave puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children.

The facility today faces the possibility of lawsuits from upwards of 1,000 families whose children were subjected to sex-reassignment despite an obvious lack of scientific evidence in favor of the procedures and inadequate mental health screenings for children with gender dysphoria.

The U.K. is not the only European country rethinking how it treats children who disagree with their biological sex.

Last year Karolinska Hospital in Sweden, one of the world’s most renowned medical establishments, decided to stop prescribing puberty-blockers to minors.

The hospital noted that giving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children “should be regarded as experimental.”

Finland’s Council for Choices in Health Care has reached the same conclusion, writing, “In light of available evidence, gender reassignment of minors is an experimental practice.”

In July the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning label to puberty blockers after six girls developed tumor-like masses in the brain, which caused vision problems.

The FDA never has approved puberty blockers for purposes of gender transition. Doctors are giving these drugs to children off-label.

All of this underscores why the Arkansas Legislature was right to pass the SAFE Act in 2021.

Evidence is mounting that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change procedures are dangerous for children.

With that in mind, our federal court system ultimately should uphold the SAFE Act and let Arkansas protect these children from life-altering procedures.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

How the Church (and the State) Failed Abigail Martinez

Recently, at The Celebration of America’s Promise to Parents event, hosted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, Abigail Martinez, a grieving mother, shared a story that every single parent, pastor, and lawmaker in America needs to hear. Abigail’s daughter Yaeli began to struggle with depression when she was in the 8th grade. Without communication with her mother, Yaeli was quickly funneled by personnel at her school towards the LGBTQ group, and then to an outside psychologist. Soon, Yaeli was being led by these adults towards a “social transition,” going by the name “Andrew” and increasingly presenting as a boy. All the while, she was urged to keep the details hidden from her family.  

Once she caught wind, Abigail protested both the secrecy and the strategy of this counseling, urging the counselors to instead look into underlying issues of Yaeli’s mental health. Instead, she was told that by refusing to call her daughter by her new name and pronouns, she was the problem. If anything happened to Yaeli, the school said, it would be Abigail’s fault.  

From that moment on, the system boxed her out at every turn. When Yaeli was 16, the school psychologist urged the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services to intervene, arguing that because her mom was “unsupportive” of her social transition, Yaeli would be better off living elsewhere. Yaeli was moved to a group home, where she started taking cross-sex hormones. Abigail was only allowed to see her daughter for one hour each week, supervised, and strictly warned not to bring up anything relating to her daughter’s transition, including their Christian faith. If she did, her visitation rights would be revoked.  

 “If we keep [Yaeli] out of your home,” Abigail remembered being told, “she [will] have more chance to survive. She’s not going to try to commit suicide.”  

Instead, all the while, Yaeli’s mental health continued to decline. The testosterone caused her constant pain, for which a doctor prescribed CBD oil. “She was taking the [cross-sex] hormones; she was not happy,” her mother said. “She changed her name, [but] was not happy, she adopted a dog because that was going to make her happy. None of it, everything that they’ve done, didn’t work.”  

At age 19, having moved out of the group home and pursued her new identity for about three years, Yaeli took her own life. As Abigail later told The Daily Signal, “I don’t want any parent to go through this, because this pain never goes away. … You breathe and you can feel the pain.”  

It’s hard to imagine a tragedy like this could happen. It’s hard to believe that a parent could lose custody to the state, simply for holding to a child’s biological sex. What’s not hard to imagine is that Yaeli Martinez will not be the last victim of these bad ideas, indoctrinated by state power. 

Local governments like Los Angeles County aggressively promote the doctrine of “gender-affirming care,” even if it means tearing a family apart. On a state level, one California senator has proposed a bill empowering courts to remove children, not just from California residents, but from anyone who travels to the state and whose children claim their parents do not support them in their gender identity or sexual orientation choices. A similar case recently unfolded in Ohio, where a county prosecutor charged a couple with “abuse and neglect” for seeking counseling instead of transition for their daughter. And in Michigan, it is very likely that a ballot initiative will be taken to the voters this November utilizing the language of “reproductive freedom” to usurp parental rights in similar ways. 

Through these laws, the state perpetuates grave evil. In the case of Yaeli Martinez, the silence of her church was even more tragic. When at the state-assigned group home, Yaeli repeatedly asked her mother when a pastor or youth leader might come visit. She had felt close to these leaders and was eager to see them. “[They] know I’m here, right?” Abigail remembered her daughter asking.  

As Abigail said, “I asked them. I gave them the address.” But they never visited. Not Abigail. Not Yaeli. No public support from the pulpit. No private support either. Abigail Martinez has walked this path all alone.  

In this, Abigail was the victim of a church culture designed around making people feel good and dodging difficult issues. Shame on them. Yaeli Martinez will not be the last teenager in crisis.  

That’s why I’m grateful for churches that, with truth and grace, do show up for parents in need. Nobody wants this culture war over sex and gender, but we didn’t choose this moment. To oppose state-sponsored trans ideology in law and in school is a necessary act of love.   

No child should be harmed by state-sponsored lies. No parent should go through what Abigail Martinez went through. And absolutely no parent should go through what Abigail Martinez went through alone.

Copyright 2022 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.

Three-Judge Panel Leaves Arkansas’ SAFE Act Blocked for Now

On Thursday a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arkansas’ Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act will remain blocked while a lawsuit over the act progresses.

The decision prevents the State of Arkansas from enforcing the SAFE Act for the time being.

The Arkansas Legislature overwhelmingly passed the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act last year.

The SAFE Act is an excellent law that protects children from sex-reassignment procedures, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones.

Researchers do not know the long term effects that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can have on kids.

This summer the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning label to puberty blockers indicating that they can cause vision loss and swelling of the brain.

Stories like these are part of the reason many experts agree that giving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children is experimental, at best.

That is also why a major hospital in Sweden announced last year that it would no longer administer puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children.

Unfortunately, the ACLU and others filed a lawsuit against the SAFE Act last summer, before the law officially took effect.

Several business interests and the Biden-Harris Administration also joined the fight against Arkansas’ SAFE Act.

U.S. District Judge James Moody temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the law while the lawsuit progresses. The lawsuit is set to go to trial in October.

Arkansas’ Attorney General asked the Eighth Circuit to lift his order so that the state can start enforcing the law right away.

Judges James B. Loken, Jane Kelly, and Katherine M. Menendez heard arguments in the case last June.

President George H. W. Bush appointed Judge Loken to the Eighth Circuit, and he has served there since 1990.

Judge Kelly is one of President Obama’s appointees, and has been on the court since 2013.

Judge Menendez was appointed to the federal district court by President Biden last year.

On Thursday the panel ruled that the state cannot enforce the law at this time.

This is a very bad ruling. Children should not be subjected to sex-reassignment procedures. Researchers do not know the long term effects puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can have on kids. The panel’s decision today fails to protect the children of Arkansas.

The SAFE Act is commonsense legislation that protects children. It received overwhelming support from the Arkansas Legislature. Most voters in Arkansas support the law as well, according to polling by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. Arkansans understand this is a good law. Our federal courts should as well.

Arkansas’ SAFE Act protects children. We believe federal courts ultimately will recognize that fact and uphold this good law as constitutional.