Gov. Hutchinson Defends His Veto Of Ban On Trans Youth Medical Treatment

Gov. Hutchinson Defends His Veto Of Ban On Trans Youth Medical Treatment asa hutchinson speaks Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine distributions during a at a news conference on Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Demillo)

Sunday, 11 April 2021 12:18 PM

GOP Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended his “social conservatism” that supported a ban of transgender youth from participating in girls' sports — and a veto of a bill to prevent doctors from providing gender-confirming treatments to that same population.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hutchinson said it’s a question of limited intrusion by the government balanced with “the message of compassion.”

Arkansas lawmakers on April 6 made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, over Hutchinson’s veto of the measure.

“While I am also a social conservative, I do believe we have to balance that with this important question: Is this a fight the government needs to get in or the role of the church or the restraint of government that we need to not only preach but to practice as well. That led me to the veto.”

According to Hutchison, it’s a conservative position to say that medical treatment is not the role of government, but that it’s “compassionate” to care for all young people whether they are transgender or not.

“That's the message of compassion and conservatism that we need to have as a party,” he said.

In contrast, Hutchinson noted he signed a bill to protect girls in sports, “which says biological males cannot compete on a girl's team.”

“To me, that's a fundamental way of making sure girls sports can prosper…. when that [treatment of transgender youth] bill came to me, I said, ‘that's too much and this interferes with patient care. It interferes with parental decision on an area that the science is continuing to learn more about.’”

“We can debate them on conservative principles, but let's show compassion and tolerance and understanding as we do that,” he urged.

“While I am also a social conservative, I do believe we have to balance that with this important question: Is this a fight the government needs to get in or the role of the church or the restraint of government that we need to not only preach but to practice as well,” he added.

“It’s a conservative position to say, that's not the role of government. It is compassionate to say, we care for all our young people, whether they're trans youth or otherwise, we care for them and that's the message of compassion and conservatism that we need to have as a party,” he declared.

Hutchinson also recently signed legislation that allows doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections.

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 Associated Press contributed to this report.

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