Tucker Carlson rips into Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson for vetoing bill to ban hormone treatments for transgender children
- DAILY MAIL - Apr 7, 2021 -
Tucker Carlson and Asa Hutchinson engaged in a heated debate Tuesday night
It came after Arkansas' Republican legislature voted to override the governor's veto of a bill banning gender confirming treatments for transgender youth
Hutchinson said he opposed the bill because it's 'over-broad' and 'extreme'
'This is the first law in the nation that invokes the state between medical decisions, parents who consent to that and the decision of the patient,' he said
He said supporting the bill would have violated his conservative commitment to limited role of government
Carlson asserted that Hutchinson betrayed conservative values by coming out as 'pro-choice on the question of chemical castration of children'
'Why don't we allow 18-year-olds to drink beer in Arkansas? Why don't we allow them to get tattoos? Why don't we allow 15-year-olds to get married?' he asked
Carlson also repeatedly questioned Hutchinson's knowledge of the issue
Tucker Carlson ripped into Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson over his decision to veto a bill that would ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, accusing him of supporting the 'chemical castration' of children.
Carlson and Hutchinson engaged in a heated debate on Fox News on Tuesday night after Arkansas' Republican legislature voted to override the governor's veto and move forward with enacting the bill.
The interview was rocky out of the gate as Hutchinson, a Republican, immediately took issue with Carlson's description of the bill.
'The legislature in Arkansas a recently passed a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing so-called "puberty blockers", heavy duty hormones, to children who believe they are transgender,' Carlson said.
'The law also bans surgeons from physical castration of children. But the governor vetoed that bill on Monday. Legislators just voted to override that veto, which brings us to where we are right now.'
Addressing Hutchinson he said: 'I think of you as a conservative. Here you've come out publicly as pro-choice on the question of chemical castration of children. What changed?'
Hutchinson replied: 'Well, first of all, your teaser as you led into this program did not accurately represent the bill. If this had been a bill that simply prohibited chemical castration, I would have signed the bill.
'But Tucker as you know, this bill was over-broad, it was extreme, it went far beyond what you just said. And I made it clear that if this was about prohibiting procedures, sex reassignment surgery, absolutely, I would have signed that bill.
'But this is the first law in the nation that invokes the state between medical decisions, parents who consent to that and the decision of the patient. And so, this goes way too far.'
Carlson interrupted: 'If I could just correct you for a second,' the host said. 'This is chemical castration, of course, if you stop puberty and suppress the sex hormones, you are chemically castrating. So our description is correct.
'We are talking about minors, children here. There are all kinds of things in Arkansas, kids in every state are not allowed to do. Get married, drink a beer, get a tattoo. Why do you think it's important for conservatives to make certain that children can block their puberty, be chemical castrated, why is that a conservative value?'
'First of all, you have parents involved in very difficult decisions. You have physicians that are involved in these decisions. And I go back to William Buckley. I go back to Ronald Reagan. The principles of our party, which believes in a limited role of government.
'Are we, as a party abandoning a limited role of government and saying we are going to invoke the government decision-making over and above physicians, over and above healthcare, over and above parents and say you can't do that?'
Carlson then asked: 'How deeply have you studied this topic? With respect, it doesn't sound like you have studied it very deeply.'
He noted that 'this is an emerging field' with limited research - to which Hutchinson said he has studied the research available and had spoken with experts and faith leaders on the issue before making his veto decision.
'I'm a person of faith, but at the same time, I'm a person of limited role of government,' he said. 'I signed pro-life bills. I sign many bills that would be looked at as very conservative. But this is one that crosses the line. There is no need for it.'
Carlson continued to press Hutchinson on what research he'd reviewed before repeatedly questioning whether the governor's decision had been influenced by corporations.
After the second ask Hutchinson stated: 'Tucker, I answered that. I answered that question and I said, no, I have not. You have another question?'
Tucker replied: 'Governor, with respect, I am skeptical that not a single corporation in the state of Arkansas has weighed in with you one way or the other on this bill. I am skeptical.'
Hutchinson sought to shift the conversation back to his argument that he was aligned with the conservative value of limited role of government.
'We don't have to invoke ourselves in every societal position out there. Let's limit the role of government. Let parents and doctors make decisions,' he said.
Tucker pushed back: 'Then why don't we allow 18-year-olds to drink beer in Arkansas? Why don't we allow them to get tattoos? Why don't we allow 15-year-olds to get married?
'You have vetoed a bill that would have protected children from a life altering permanent procedure that has effects we can only guess at. But the early indication is they are very serious and very negative in some cases.'
Hutchinson responded: 'These are difficult decisions. You want to listen to the medical professionals, to professional counselors, to parents? Or do you want to leave all of these decisions to the legislators that come from all different kinds of backgrounds?
'Yes, they are elected to represent you, but they do not necessarily make the right judgments for parents and for doctors in the most sensitive issues.'
Carlson pushed back yet again before ending the interview without having reached common ground with the governor.
Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments for transgender youth - a day after Hutchinson vetoed it.
The bill prohibits doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.
Opponents of the measure have vowed to sue to block the ban before it takes effect this summer.
With his veto, Hutchinson yielded to pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide.
The ban was opposed by several medical and child welfare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.
'This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth,' Dr Robert Garofalo, division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, told reporters on a press conference call held by the Human Rights Campaign.
'They're not just anti-trans. They're anti-science. They're anti-public health.'
The bill's sponsor dismissed opposition from medical groups and compared the restriction to other limits the state places on minors, such as prohibiting them from drinking.
'They need to get to be 18 before they make those decisions,' Republican Rep Robin Lundstrum said.
The Family Council, a conservative group that backed the measure, praised lawmakers for enacting 'historic legislation'.
The law will take effect in late July at the earliest. The American Civil Liberties Union said it planned to challenge the measure before then.
'This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over - and we're in it for the long haul,' Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas' executive director, said in a statement.
The override, which needed only a simple majority, passed easily in both chambers, with House voting 72-25 in favor and the Senate 25-8.
The ban was enacted during a year in which bills targeting transgender people have advanced easily in Arkansas and other states. Hutchinson recently signed legislation banning transgender women and girls from competing on teams consistent with their gender identity, a prohibition that also has been enacted in Tennessee and Mississippi this year.
Hutchinson also recently signed legislation that allows doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections.
And the Legislature isn't showing signs of letting up. Another bill advanced by a House committee earlier Tuesday would prevent schools from requiring teachers to refer to students by their preferred pronouns or titles.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ rights group, said more than 100 bills have been filed in statehouses around the country targeting the transgender community. Similar treatment bans have been proposed in at least 20 states.
The foundation established by the family of Bentonville-based Walmart's founder on Tuesday raised concerns about the recent measures in Arkansas targeting LGBTQ people.
'This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state,' Tom Walton with the Walton Family Foundation said in a statement released before the override vote.
One lawmaker opposed to the measure compared it to the anti-integration bills Arkansas' Legislature passed in 1958 in opposition to the previous year's desegregation of Little Rock Central High School.
'What I see, this bill, is the most powerful again bullying the most vulnerable people in our state,' Democratic Sen Clarke Tucker said before the vote.