Arkansas was the first state to enact such a law with its "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act," and that required overriding a veto from then-Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in 2021. The law was struck down by a federal judge in June, and Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin is working to have the law heard before the full body of the Eighth Circuit.
A U.S. district judge then ruled that depriving minors questioning their birth sex of puberty blockers and similar treatments would cause them irreparable harm and force teens to go through changes consistent with their biological six. Hutchinson said he hoped his veto "would cause my Republican colleagues across the country to resist the temptation to put the state in the middle of every decision made by parents and health care professionals."
While the Arkansas law awaits its fate, Rep. Robin Lundstrum celebrates the Sixth Circuit's recent ruling for Tennessee and Kentucky.
"What's exciting about this Tennessee and the Kentucky case is they're saying, 'Wait a second, these kids are minors. They're not old enough to actually make a decision,'" Lundstrum said on Washington Watch Friday.
That court opinion agrees with the viewpoint of many conservatives who say children aren't ready to make such life-changing decisions.
Often parents themselves are unsure about the best path when faced with a child's gender dysphoria, and stories are surfacing that says medical professionals are pushing treatments and surgeries without presenting all available information to families.
Chloe Cole, a 19-year-old Californian woman who has "detransitioned" and become a national spokesperson against gender-manipulation procedures, says when she questioned her biological sex medical professionals offered her parents no choices other than gender transition.
"They were told that blood was going to be on their hands, that they were either going to have a dead daughter or a living transgender son," Cole said.
Lundstrum: Deep division will lead to Supreme Court
The deep division on this topic will eventually lead to a Supreme Court ruling, Lundstrom predicted.
"The [lower court] judges are getting clued in on this and they're looking at the medical information and making good decisions. There have been three cases, three circuits that have not gone our way. So, when you have that conclusion or that disagreement, guess what? The Supreme Court starts to weigh in – and so we're on that course," she told show host Jody Hice.
More than 20 states have enacted measures to ban gender-manipulation procedures.
"Arkansas is on its way to the Eighth Circuit. We've heard from the Eleventh Circuit. We've heard from the Sixth Circuit. And I think we're going to be hearing more information coming soon," the state lawmaker said.
Lundstrum noted that Arkansas has been a leader in efforts to protect children.
"Each of these states did their own version of the state SAFE Act, and their elected officials stood up. Each of these 20 states are really brave to go forward. Even though there were some governors who weren't too happy about it, there are also some governors who said, 'Bring it, let's do this.' I love the fact that it's happening, and there are still more states that are going to go back and do this."
Lundstrum said the gender-manipulation discussion shows parents and elected officials partnering together to show how a Republic works.
"They're saying, 'These are our children, and you're not going to cut off the body parts of our children. You're not going to experiment on our children.' I love this, and we're going to keep coming back and fighting for our kids," she said.
Griffin: Eighth Circuit's three-judge ruling was 'erroneous'
Attorney General Griffin in early September announced he had filed a petition seeking review by the full Eighth Circuit and not just a three-judge panel as is often the case. A year ago, three Eighth Circuit judges upheld the lower-court ruling to block the Arkansas law.
Griffin said circuit court rulings that allowed laws to go into effect in Tennessee and Kentucky, and earlier in Alabama, prove the Eighth Circuit panel erred in its decision.
"Those decisions demonstrate that last year's three-judge panel decision upholding an order blocking Arkansas' law was erroneous, and that's why I'm asking the entire court to overrule that decision," Griffin said in a statement.
"[Griffin] doesn't know anything but 110 miles an hour, and he is working hard. He's got an incredible staff of attorneys, and they're in the middle of it," Lundstrum said.
"They're also partnering with other attorneys general. This is a movement of individuals saying, 'We're not going to look back in 10 or 15 years and say we didn't do anything. We stood up when it was time to stand up.' This is neat to see."