News and Commentary

Gov. Asa Hutchinson Appeals To Buckley, Reagan To Defend ‘Conservative’ Veto Of Bill Banning Puberty Blockers For Children
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Interview
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican Arkanas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday appealed to the conservative value of limited government in defense of his veto of a bill that bans minors from taking puberty-blocking hormones.

Hutchinson defended the veto during a tense interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who opened by asking why a conservative such as Hutchinson would become “pro-choice” when it comes to puberty blockers for children.

“This bill was over-broad; it was extreme; it went far beyond what you just said,” Hutchinson responded in part, after claiming Carlson mischaracterized puberty blockers as chemical castration. “And I made it clear that if this was about prohibiting procedures, sex reassignment surgery, absolutely I would have signed that bill.”

“This is the first law in the nation that invokes the state in 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 treatments, they would have to be cut off from it,” he continued.

Interjecting to clarify that blocking a child’s puberty with drugs is, in fact, a form of chemical castration, Carlson then asked Hutchinson to explain why allowing such a thing would be considered “a conservative value” if children are not allowed to drink alcohol or get tattoos, for example.

“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,” Hutchinson said. “Are we, as a party, abandoning limited role of government and saying we’re going to invoke the government decision-making over and above physicians, over and above healthcare, over and above parents?”

Carlson expressed skepticism that Hutchinson had thoroughly studied the relatively new field of transgender medicine and asked him to cite a specific study that found puberty blockers reduced suicidal ideation.

Carlson later pivoted to ask whether Hutchinson had fielded any phone calls from major Arkansas-based companies regarding the legislation before issuing his veto, which Hutchinson denied.

“Let me just say, governor, with respect, I’m skeptical that not a single corporation in the state of Arkansas weighed in with you one way or the other on this bill,” Carlson responded. “I am skeptical, but I suppose I’ll take your word.”

Hutchinson went on to claim medical professionals and counselors are better equipped than state legislators to help children and families make such life-altering decisions, and that government should not be involved. Carlson fired back by asking why government restricts children from doing anything, in that case.

Carlson closed the segment by asking, “If someone 10 years ago said you are going to be governor of Arkansas and you are going to veto a bill that would have protected children from chemical castration, what you think you would have said?”


Hutchinson’s veto was overridden by the Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday. As The Daily Wire reported:

The Arkansas Legislature voted Tuesday afternoon to ban minors from receiving gender reassignment services from medical providers, including hormone treatments and puberty blockers, overriding the GOP governor’s veto of the proposal the day before. 

“The House voted 71-24, and the Senate 25-8, to override the governor’s veto a day after it was announced,” ABC News reported on the development Tuesday afternoon. 

Only the day before, two-term Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) had vetoed the proposal — dubbed the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act — out of concern it was too far-reaching and overly broad. The proposal would have banned doctors from providing minors with various gender-reassignment treatments in addition to referrals for them. It also would have banned doctors from referring minors for gender-reassignment surgeries. 

“I don’t shy away from the battle when it is necessary and defensible, but the most recent action of the general assembly, while well-intended, is off-course and I must veto,” said Hutchinson. 

Related: Arkansas Gov. Vetos Transgender Treatments Ban For Minors, Calls It ‘Vast Government Overreach’

The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Gov. Asa Hutchinson Appeals To Buckley, Reagan To Defend ‘Conservative’ Veto Of Bill Banning Puberty Blockers For Children