Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended her decision to veto legislation that would have made his state the first to ban sex-enhancing treatments or surgeries for transgender teens in a heated exchange with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday.
The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host explained to viewers that the bill almost went with Hutchinson’s support until the governor rejected legislation that would have banned doctors from providing sex-confirming hormone therapy, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 or from referring them to other providers. the treatment.
Hutchinson accused Carlson of misrepresenting the bill, explaining, “If this had been a bill that simply banned chemical castration, I would have signed the bill.”
Hutchinson added that he would have supported legislation that only restricted gender-confirming surgeries that are not currently performed on minors in the state.
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Instead, he said the bill presented to him was “broad, it was extreme. It went far beyond what you just said.”
“This is the first law in the nation that invokes the state between medical decisions, parents giving consent to it and the patient’s decision. And then this goes too far. And in fact, it does not even have a grandfather clause that the young people people undergoing hormone therapy, ”he argued.
Hutchinson’s veto followed pleas from pediatricians, social workers and parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a society already at risk of depression and suicide. Hutchinson said he met with doctors and transgender people as he considered signing the measure.
“With respect,” Carlson said. “It does not sound like you have studied it very deeply. I mean, this is a growing field. There is not much research. But the research that exists suggests depression and the urge for self-harm and suicide is a component., It is a side effect of taking these hormones. “
The host cited a British study that reportedly suggested that an overwhelming majority of children who received puberty-blocking hormones felt the urge to harm themselves.
“Why is the responsible medicine doing it against children? Why would you support something similar?” he asked.
Hutchinson admitted that there are “many strangers here”, but maintained that he “studied this bill, and contrary to what you just said, I spent a lot of time reviewing cases, meeting people, listening to the experts as well as to leaders of faith. “
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 bills for life. I sign many bills that would be considered very conservative. But this is one that crosses the border. There is no need for that,” he argued.
Carlson asked Hutchinson to provide data in support of 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 who take chemically castrated puberty blockers. , and you could not quote one.
“You do not know,” the host continued. “You were told by doctors that it was a good idea, and you followed it.”
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When Carlson questioned whether Hutchinson was in contact with corporate interests in the state of Arkansas about the bill, the governor replied forcefully, “I answered that question and I said, no, I have not. Do you have another question?”
Earlier Tuesday, Arkansas lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to override Hutchinson’s veto.