Arkansas Governor Goes On 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' After Vetoing SAFE Act. It Was Brutal.

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Posted: Apr 07, 2021 7:30 AM
Arkansas Governor Goes On 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' After Vetoing SAFE Act. It Was Brutal.

Source: AP Photo/Brian Chilson, File

Fox News's Tucker Carlson grilled Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson for vetoing the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act, which restricts “gender affirming” chemical or surgical treatments for those under the age of 18, regardless of parental consent.

Though Hutchinson did sign recent legislation that protects women’s sports and allows doctors to refuse patients for moral or religious reasons, he criticized the SAFE Act as a "vast government overreach" and "a product of the cultural war in America." He was particularly concerned because it applies to patients currently in the middle of treatment.

Proponents of the legislation challenged the notion that such practices are medical treatments, instead referring to them as "experimentation on children with long-term health effects."

On Tuesday, the Arkansas Republican legislature voted to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto -- in the House, by a vote of 71 to 24, and 25 to 8 in the Senate.

Speaking to Carlson about his veto, Hutchinson again argued the legislation was too broad. 

Hutchinson accused Carlson of misrepresenting the bill, explaining: "If this had been a bill that simply prohibited chemical castration, I would have signed the bill."

Hutchinson added that he would have supported legislation that restricted only gender-confirming surgery, which currently is not performed on minors in the state.

Instead, he said, the bill presented to him was "was overbroad, 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 who consent to that and the decision of the patient. And so, this goes way too far. And in fact, it doesn't even have a grandfather clause that those young people that are under hormonal treatment," he argued. (Fox News)

Carlson challenged Hutchinson, saying he seems unaware about what these treatments do to children.

"With respect, it doesn't sound like you have studied it very deeply," he said. "I mean, this is an emerging field. There's not a lot of research. But the research that exists suggests the depression and the urge to self-harm and suicide is a component, it's a side effect of taking these hormones." 

The host asked how that's "responsible medicine" and why he would support doing that to children. 

While Hutchinson acknowledged there are "unknowns," he insisted he studied the bill at length and spoke with experts and those in the faith community 

Carlson wondered how his position is a "conservative value."

"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?"

Hutchinson defended his position from a limited government standpoint. 

"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?" Hutchinson wondered.

Carlson also pressed the governor about corporate influence over his decision, which Hutchinson denied. 

"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," the host replied. 

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.' (Daily Mail)

Watch the segment below: