Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) reiterated his stance that parents should be the ones to guide children through the decision to receive “gender-affirming” treatment like puberty-blocking drugs during a campaign forum.
Tucker Carlson hosted the Blaze Media Summit on Friday, which featured GOP presidential candidates Hutchinson, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, and Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
Carlson asked Hutchinson whether his position changed over the past two years after he vetoed an Arkansas bill that would have prohibited doctors from prescribing minors with such gender-affirming treatment.
“What I believe in is that parents ought to raise their children. I believe that parents ought to be in control. And I also believe in the Constitution,” Hutchinson told Carlson. “I believe that God created two genders, and that there should not be any confusion on your gender. But if there is confusion, then parents ought to be the one that guides the children.”
Hutchinson explained he would not have vetoed the 2021 bill had it prohibited gender transition surgery for minors because “no parent should be able to consent to that permanent change.”
Then, Carlson pointed out that “hormone therapy for pre pubescent children is permanent,” because “It changes the brain of the child.”
“So given that standard you just articulated, do you have different feelings? I mean, this is a permanent change we’re making to a child and why would we allow that if we don’t allow surgery?” Carlson asked.
“Well, permanent change is one issue but also hormonal treatment is a different issue and can be a different issue,” Hutchinson responded.
While Carlson asked another follow-up question about Hutchinson’s views, the former Arkansas governor interrupted Carlson and said, “I hope that we will be able to talk about some issues.”
“Well, this is one of the biggest issues in the country, and I think every person in this room would agree that it is a central issue, because these are children who are being altered permanently and you can defend that alteration, that change, if you like, but there’s really no debate about whether or not it’s permanent,” Carlson said. “And so I think it’s fair to ask you in a calm, rational and I very much a polite way, why you would support that.”
Hutchinson explained that he opposes the government “pushing an agenda in our schools.”
He said parents “shouldn’t be denied the ability to know what’s going on to school with that child, and then they make the decision. They can go to the doctor if a child is suicidal, if a child is struggling, they want to they discuss hormonal treatment that would delay puberty.”
“I don’t think this government should come in and tell the parents you can’t give the child a vaccine or you must give the child a vaccine or you cannot give them the treatment that you think is important in discussion,” Hutchinson said.