Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson says debate over the anti-trans bill he vetoed is about ‘the future’ of the GOP

Asa Hutchinson
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at a news conference at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015.

  • Gov. Asa Hutchinson said discussion about the bill targeting trans youth represented “the future” of the GOP.
  • While Hutchinson vetoed the bill, the Arkansas state legislature quickly overturned his decision.
  • Hutchinson has received blowback from Republicans, including Trump, for his veto.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said Sunday the bill targeting healthcare for transgender youth he vetoed last week went “too far” and said the debate over such legislation is key in determining the direction of the GOP.

Hutchinson has been targeted by his own party for vetoing the legislation, including by former President Donald Trump who in a statement called the Arkansas governor a “lightweight RINO.”

“‘Bye-bye Asa,’ that’s the end of him!” Trump said.

But in the interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hutchinson appeared to laugh off the former president’s comments when confronted with the comments made by him and other Republicans.

“Any time you go against the grain, you’re going to get that kind of blowback,” Hutchinson told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Read: Every anti-trans bill US lawmakers introduced this year, from banning medication to jail time for doctors

As Insider’s Canela López previously reported, Hutchinson last week vetoed the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act,HB 1570. The Arkansas state legislature, dominated by Republicans, overrode Hutchinson’s veto the next day.

The law bans doctors from prescribing trans youth under the age of 18 puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or gender-affirming surgeries. Doctors who provide this care to patients could be charged with a felony under the law.

Advocates warned that the bill posed health risks to trans youth and set a dangerous precedent leading to more anti-trans legislation across the US.

“I think it’s healthy for our society, I think it’s helpful for our party to have that kind of vigorous debate about an important issue. And, to me, this is about the future of our party,” Hutchinson said Sunday.

“Are we going to be a narrow party that expresses ourself in intolerant ways, or are we going to be a broad-based party that shows conservative principles, but also compassion in dealing with some of the most difficult issues that parents face, that individuals face?” he added.

Hutchinson said the legislation went “too far” and said he needed to “remind his wonderful Republican colleagues” that the GOP platform prioritizes a “limited role of government.”

Hutchinson also this year signed another piece of anti-trans legislation into law, prohibiting trans girls from playing on girls sports teams. Advocates said the bill targeted a problem that doesn’t actually exist, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted.

Republicans have introduced a wide range of bills targeting trans rights this year in 28 states, Insider previously reported. Bills range from legislation restricting which sports teams trans youth can play on to ones that regulate medical care for trans people.

“I did sign the protection for girls in sports, which says biological males cannot compete on a girls team,” Hutchinson said. “To me, that’s a fundamental way of making sure girls sports can prosper.”

“These are tough areas, tough areas,” he added. “And what we have to do is, we can debate them on conservative principles, but let’s show compassion and tolerance and understanding as we do that. And that’s the simple message that I think is important for our party.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arkansas becomes first state to pass bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to trans youth

trans supreme court.JPG
  • Arkansas passed a bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to trans youth.
  • The Senate passed the bill Monday in a 28-7 vote. The House passed the bill earlier this month.
  • The legislation now goes to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk to be signed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arkansas became the first state to pass a bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth following a vote in the state Senate on Monday.

HB 1570, the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” prohibits trans youth from accessing health care and insurance coverage for gender-affirming care. The bill passed 28-7 in the state Senate. The state House passed the bill earlier this month.

The bill would prohibit doctors from offering gender confirming horomone treatment or surgery to trans youth. Doctors would also be unable to refer minors to other providers for treatment.

The legislation now goes to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk for signature. He has not publicly said whether he supports the legislation. The governor has five days, not including Sunday, to sign or veto the bill before it becomes law.

If signed, the bill would take effect this summer.

Opponents say if the legislation is enacted, it would be the first prohibition of its kind in the US. LGBTQ advocacy groups, child welfare organizations, and medical professionals have criticized the legislation.

Medical best practice guidelines from the Endocrine Society, Child Mind Institute, and American Psychological Association all recommend that states provide gender-affirming care for trans children. If Hutchinson signs the bill, Arkansas will became the first state to criminalize the vital health services.

Studies have shown children who are unable to access gender-affirming care experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide than trans youth with supportive doctors and families. A 2020 study published in Pediatrics found the earlier transgender youth get care, the less likely they are to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts.

Getting gender-affirming care before puberty can slow or stop some of the changes that are more difficult to reverse like voice deepening, hair growth, and fat distribution.

Arkansas’s HB1570 comes amid a surge of anti-trans bills being considered in state legislatures across the country this year. Insider previously reported that 28 states are voting on anti-trans legislation in 2021.

Arkansas has also proposed two bills that would prevent trans youth from participating in school sports: SB354 and SJR16

This story is breaking. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arkansas governor’s new ‘medical conscience objections’ law could result in LGBTQ+ people being refused treatment, human rights group says

asa hutchinson arkansas governor
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AK) appears on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (

  • Gov. Hutchinson has signed a law that allows medics to refuse treatment because of moral objections.
  • It could lead to LGBTQ+ patients being discriminated against, a human rights group told AP.
  • Arkansas’s governor is also facing criticism for new legislation on transgender women in sport.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas signed in new legislation on Friday that allows medical professionals to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral objections, the Associated Press reported.

The new law says that doctors and healthcare institutions can object to participating in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience, the news agency said.

It will come into effect in the late summer, according to AP.

Read more: Biden gets busy reversing Trump-era restrictions on gender and reproductive rights. His policies are even more progressive than past Democratic presidents.

The legislation is facing fierce opposition from human rights activists who say that LGBTQ+ individuals could be denied treatment.

Critics have said that it could lead to doctors refusing to treat transgender patients or provide grief counseling for same-sex couples, AP said. It could also lead to women being denied prescriptions for birth control, according to the news agency.

“There is no sugarcoating this: this bill is another brazen attempt to make it easier to discriminate against people and deny Arkansans the health care services they need,” ACLU Arkansas’s executive director Holly Dickinson said in a statement to AP.

Hutchinson is insisting that the legislation will not breach federal discrimination laws.

“I support this right of conscience so long as emergency care is exempted and conscience objection cannot be used to deny general health service to any class of people,” the governor said in a statement. “Most importantly, the federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, and national origin continue to apply to the delivery of health care services.”

Hutchinson is also facing backlash for signing a law on Thursday that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in sports consistent with their gender identity.

Alphonso David, the president of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, criticized the legislation in a statement.

“Governor Hutchinson’s eagerness to sign this discriminatory legislation is an affront not just to the transgender kids it is bound to hurt but to all Arkansans who will be impacted by its consequences,” David wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson calls COVID-19 vaccine skepticism among Trump supporters ‘a natural resistance to government’

Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas).

  • Gov. Asa Hutchinson said GOP vaccine skepticism is rooted in “a natural resistance to government.”
  • A Yahoo News/YouGov poll revealed that 50% of Trump voters said they would “never” get the vaccine.
  • Hutchinson is set to lift the mask mandate in Arkansas at the end of March.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas on Sunday said that the reluctance of many supporters of former President Donald Trump to receive COVID-19 vaccination shots is rooted in “a natural resistance to government,” a sentiment he described as “worrisome.”

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hutchinson remarked at the conservative nature of his state’s electorate when host Dana Bash informed him of results from a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll which revealed that a full 50 percent of Trump voters indicated that they would “never” get the vaccine.

“I’ve thought a lot about that and I think it’s a natural resistance to government and skepticism of it,” he said. “But you look at the breadth of support here in Arkansas for President Trump, and you have rural voters, you have minority voters, and their hesitancy is worrisome, not just here but all across the country.”

He added: “I expect, as a country, we’ll get the 50 percent vaccination rate of the population, but we’re going to have a harder time getting from 50 percent to 70 percent, and it’s about overcoming the skepticism.”

Read more: Trump inner circle tightens grip on the GOP’s most valued prize – the former president’s endorsement – sparking a new brawl among top MAGA lieutenants

While former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter all participated in a recent series of public service announcements touting the vaccine, Trump did not to participate.

When asked if Trump should be more vocal about the merits of the vaccine, which the former president and former first lady Melania Trump received shortly before leaving the White House in January, Hutchinson said that messages of support from all leaders would be beneficial.

“Well, I’m delighted that he did get the vaccine [and] promoted that,” Hutchinson said. “I don’t know the story behind as to why he wasn’t in the PSA with the other presidents. Any message is helpful and I think we have to have our leaders, we have to have sports figures, we have to have different representatives of our community, including our political leaders, say [the] vaccine is important.”

Despite Hutchinson reflecting on the severity of the coronavirus, which has killed over 5,500 Arkansans and infected over 328,000 state residents, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, he said that he planned to lift the mask mandate at the end of March.

“We’re a year into this and we know so much more today than we did a year ago,” he said. “We had to educate people to understand the importance of the mask, and I expect even though we take the mask mandate away that people will continue to use the mask when you cannot socially distance. Common sense is going to replace mandates and I think that’s where we are right now.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arkansas GOP governor said the near-total ban on abortion he signed is designed to land before the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

Asa Hutchinson
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at a news conference at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, August 4, 2015.

  • Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson said his anti-abortion law is designed to be argued before the Supreme Court.
  • The law is a near-total ban on abortion, with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
  • “I signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade,” he told CNN.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, on Sunday said the near-total ban on abortion he signed into law earlier in March was designed to land before the Supreme Court.

Hutchinson made the comments Sunday during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union”

“It is not constitutional under Supreme Court cases right now,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash. “And I did prefer a rape and incest exception. I didn’t get a vote on that. And so I signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade. That was the intent of it.”

He said “the whole design” of the law was to get the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Hutchinson signed the bill into law on March 9, as The Associated Press reported, even though he at the time had expressed concerns over its lack of exceptions for rape or incest. Under the law, abortion is only permissible in cases where a mother’s life is in danger.

The bill is just one example of Republican-backed challenges to abortion that have appeared in state legislatures across the US this year.

“I think there’s a very narrow chance that the Supreme Court will accept that case, but we will see,” Hutchinson said Sunday. “And, again, I would prefer – it’s been my historic position that the three exceptions would be rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

“But this is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade,” he continued. “And that’s the intent of the legislation.”

As the Associated Press noted when the bill was signed earlier this month, it won’t go into effect until 90 after the date it was signed into law, meaning it can’t be enforced until this summer at the earliest. Groups centered on protecting access to abortion have said they planned to issue legal challenges to the legislation, according to the report.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said letting Trump ‘define’ the future of the Republican party will ‘just further divide our country’

Asa Hutchinson
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at a news conference at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that the GOP “can’t” let former president Donald Trump “define” the party’s future, and that he would not support him in his potential re-election efforts in 2024. 

“He will define our party if we let him define our party. That’s one of the reasons that my voice is important.. others voice is important in this debate,” Hutchinson, a Republican,  said in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

In the interview, Hutchinson said “it’s fine” that Trump is set to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), but “how about the other voices?” he said. Trump is slated to speak at the CPAC in Orlando, Florida this week to talk about the “future of the Republican party,” a source told Reuters, as Insider previously reported.

“We can’t let him define us for the future because that would just further divide our country, and it would hurt our Republican Party,”  Hutchinson continued. 

 

When asked if he would back a re-election run from Trump, Hutchinson responded, “No, I wouldn’t.”

“He’s got a good family. I worked with Ivanka and others and they love America. But I would not support him for reelection in 2024,” Hutchinson told CNN’s, Dana Bash. “He’s going to have a voice, as former presidents do, but there are many voices in the party and again he should not define our future.”

Hutchinson’s nephew, Arkansas State Sen. Jim Hendren, announced in a video Thursday that he would be leaving the party citing the coup attempt of the Capitol building.

“For months, I watched as members of my own party and our former president tried to overturn the results of a fair and free election, the very hallmark of our democracy, with lies, with false statements, conspiracy theories, and attempts to subvert the Constitution,” Hendren said in the video. “This led to the violent events of Jan. 6 when we all watched violence in the hall of our nation’s Capitol and couldn’t believe our eyes. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing was our own country, but it was. For me, that day was the final straw.”

The Republican Party has been divided after Trump was charged for “incitement of insurrection” of the deadly US Capitol siege. The former president was not charged for inciting the insurrection by the Senate, and, some GOP members who voted in favor of convicting him have been widely criticized for their decision. 

Read the original article on Business Insider