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.