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(LifeSiteNews) — Former Arkansas governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson said he stands by his decision to veto legislation that would have protected gender-confused minors from being chemically and surgically mutilated.

Tucker Carlson asked Hutchinson during a July 14 presidential summit sponsored by Blaze Media whether he had changed his mind in the past two years since he vetoed the legislation. The Arkansas legislature overrode Hutchinson’s veto.

Hutchinson first pivoted by saying he supported the rights of parents and “the Constitution.”

“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, that to me is an important fundamental principle,” Hutchinson said.

“A physician or other healthcare professional shall not provide gender transition procedures to any individual under eighteen years of age,” the SAFE Act reads, banning puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and “sex change” surgeries, as well as referrals for them, as previously reported by LifeSiteNews.

Hutchinson then appeared to contradict himself by saying that he would have supported a complete prohibition on “transgender surgery,” perhaps meaning that he opposed the limits on the drugs but supported the limits on the surgery.

He stated:

Now obviously you could take it too far and if there would have been a bill that said you should not ever have transgender surgery as a minor I would sign that in a minute, because no parent should be able to consent to that permanent change. But this bill did go too far it was unconstitutional, it interfered with parents, and so I sided with parents on that bill in in managing the most sensitive issue that a parent can face and I believe in a limited role of government.

He then said he would oppose efforts to make the state force parents to have their kids have so-called “gender-affirming care.”

“I stand with parents,” Hutchinson reiterated.

Carlson pressed Hutchinson on his comments that he opposed permanent “physical alteration” and asked why he would not apply it to transgender drugs.

“I think we’ve learned that hormone therapy for prepubescent children is permanent,” Carlson said.

READ: Former transgender clinic employee blows whistle on ‘appalling’ mutilation of children

Hutchinson then articulated another standard.

“Permanent change is one issue, but also hormonal treatment is a different issue, and can be a different issue and whenever you look at the bill that I vetoed there was not any grandfather clause in there. Again I respect legislators that have a different view but I think independently, I think of the parents, I think of the Constitution,” Hutchinson said.

Pressed again on how these are “treatment[s],” Hutchinson said he “hope[d] we’ll be able to talk about some issues.”

Carlson responded:

This is one of the biggest issues in the country and I think … every person in this room would agree it is a central issue, because it 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. And so I think it’s fair to ask you in a calm, rational, and I very much hope polite, way, why you would support that.

Hutchinson, who vetoed the legislation, said he was not saying what he supported.

He also did not answer Carlson’s question of how he could say he believed in two sexes made by God while also saying it was possible for someone to change their sex.

READ: Republican states are cracking down on America’s horrific transgender mutilation crisis

The permanent damage caused by transgender drugs are documented and explained by credentialed medical experts.

Dr. Quentin Van Meter previously told LifeSiteNews about the harms of transgender drugs.

“If you are interrupting [physical maturation] with clearly the intent of never having it go the direction that nature intended, with biological males ending up as adult males and biological females ending up as adult females, if you interrupt that, you are basically setting up a disease state,” Van Meter told LifeSiteNews in 2021. “And then on top of that, the purpose is clearly in the vast majority of kids that get on puberty blockers, they will not be allowed to go through their own natural puberty. They will be held back and then given cross-sex hormones.”

Several other Republican candidates oppose limits on surgical and chemical mutilation

Hutchinson joins other presidential candidates in supporting, at least implicitly, the idea that individuals can change their sex.

For example, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie takes Hutchinson’s position that parents should be able to take their kids into medical professionals to get them permanently sterilized. Former Vice President Mike Pence said he opposes legislation to prevent adults from permanently sterilizing themselves or removing other healthy body parts.

Former Vice President Mike Pence said he wants limits for kids but is “libertarian” on the issue when it comes to adults.

“I’m heartened to hear the progress in other countries protecting kids from chemical or surgical gender transition. I strongly support efforts in my home state of Indiana and around the country to prohibit gender transition, chemical, or surgical treatment for children under the age of 18,” the Republican presidential candidate told Jordan Peterson on a recent episode of The Dr. Jordan B. Peterson Podcast.

“I’m libertarian enough to say if you’re an adult you live while you live. You know, I may not agree with decisions you make, but we’ll love you, and love our neighbor as ourselves as my faith requires, right?” Pence said. “But live and let live. But for our kids, absolutely not. We’ve got to take a strong stand.