Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson defended his decision to veto legislation that would have made his state the first to ban gender confirmation treatments or surgery for transgender youth in a fiery exchange with the Fox News host, Tucker Carlson, Tuesday.
The host of “The Tucker Carlson Tonight” explained to viewers that the bill was on the verge of passing with Hutchinson’s support until the governor rejected legislation that would have barred physicians from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, blockers. puberty or surgery to anyone under the age of 18 or referring them to other providers for treatment.
Hutchinson accused Carlson of misrepresenting the bill, explaining: “If this had been a bill that simply prohibited chemical castration, I would have signed it.”
Hutchinson added that she would have supported legislation restricting only gender confirmation surgery, which is not currently performed on minors in the state.
ARKANSAS GOV VETOES BILL BANNING GENDER HORMONES, SURGERIES FOR TRANSGENDER YOUTH
Instead, he said, the bill presented to him was “too broad, it was extreme. It went way beyond what he just said.
“This is the first law in the nation that invokes the state between medical decisions, consenting parents, and the patient’s decision. And so, this goes too far. And in fact, it doesn’t even have a Grandparent Clause that those young people who are under hormonal treatment ”, he argued.
Hutchinson’s veto followed pleas from pediatricians, social workers and parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk of depression and suicide. Hutchinson said she met with doctors and transgender people to consider signing the measure.
“With respect,” Carlson said. “It doesn’t seem like you’ve studied it very deeply. I mean, this is an emerging field. There isn’t a lot of research. But the research that does exist suggests that depression and the urge to self-harm and commit suicide is a component, it’s a side effect of taking these hormones. “
The host cited a UK study that reportedly suggested that an overwhelming majority of children given puberty-blocking hormones felt the need to hurt themselves.
“Why is that medicine responsible, doing that to children? Why would you support such a thing?” I ask.
Hutchinson admitted that there are “a lot of unknowns here” but maintained that “he studied this bill and, in contrast to what he just said, I spent a lot of time reviewing cases, meeting with people, listening to experts and religious leaders as well.” .
The governor added that while he considers himself “a person of faith,” he believes in a limited role for the government.
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“I signed pro-life bills. I sign many bills that would be considered very conservative. But this is one that crosses the line. There is no need,” he argued.
Carlson asked Hutchinson to provide data to support his decision, arguing that “there is not a single study that I am aware of that shows an improvement in the mental health of children taking puberty blockers who are chemically neutered, and it is not known. could quote one.
“You are not familiar,” continued the host. “The doctors told him it was a good idea and he followed it up.”
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When Carlson asked if Hutchinson was in contact with corporate interests in the state of Arkansas about the bill, the governor responded forcefully, “I answered that question and said, no, I didn’t. Do you have another question?”
Earlier Tuesday, the Arkansas legislature overwhelmingly voted to override Hutchinson’s veto.