Surgeon’s testimony smooths out rocky day in court for lawyers defending Arkansas ban law
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Surgically removing body parts and destroying healthy human function “violates one of the most fundamental principles of plastic surgery,” Dr. Patrick Lappert testified, explaining why he refuses to remove breasts from females who seek to appear male.
Lappert took the stand on Nov. 29 in federal court here as a witness for the state of Arkansas, which is defending a legal attack on a law banning transgender medical procedures for minors.
Those measures include hormones and surgeries, such as double mastectomies that “gender-affirming care” proponents champion as a cure for girls who are distressed over their bodies’ female attributes.
Earlier this year, Lappert testified in favor of a similar bill in Alabama, where he is based.
The Arkansas trial began in October but recessed for a month before resuming with testimony intended to support the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act. That law has been on hold while the legal battle, which started right after its passage in April 2021, continues.
Judge James Moody Jr. will decide the case known as Brandt v. Rutledge; it is the nation’s first legal test of such a law.
Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) want the law struck down as unconstitutional. One of their main contentions: it’s discriminatory for the state to prohibit medical procedures for transgender purposes yet allow them for other reasons.
But Lappert testified that in his private surgery practice he refuses to perform certain procedures depending on the intended purpose—a nod to the law that seeks to forbid procedures for gender-transition purposes.
It’s acceptable to enhance breasts for a grown woman who has finished her childbearing years; it’s not appropriate to do that for a teen who isn’t finished growing and may jeopardize her future ability to breastfeed an infant, he said.
By Janice Hisle