Bloomberg Law
Feb. 24, 2022, 10:35 AM

Transgender Kids Care Law Tests Arkansas Doctors’ Speech Rights

Lydia Wheeler
Lydia Wheeler
Senior Reporter

A battle over an Arkansas law that bans doctors from referring transgender kids for gender-affirming care is testing the bounds of free speech protections in the doctor’s office.

Arkansas says it has the right to regulate doctors’ professional conduct “even if the conduct incidentally involves speech.” But because the law prevents health-care professionals from speaking—and their patients and parents from hearing—about medically accepted treatments, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and its Arkansas chapter say it’s unconstitutional.

The fight threatens to limit the autonomy doctors have to determine the best course of care for their patients and is likely to ...

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