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Arkansas Gov. Faces Criticism For Vetoing Bill Banning Trans Surgeries For Minors

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  • Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is facing criticism from conservatives for vetoing a bill that would have banned transgender surgeries and procedures for minors.
  • Hutchinson had signed a similar bill in late March banning biological men from participating in women’s sports, but vetoed the SAFE Act Monday, describing the bill as a “vast government overreach,” and adding that the state shouldn’t jump into every “medical, human, and ethical issue.”
  • His veto was met with swift criticism from conservatives like the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, who called Hutchinson a “useless coward” and “worthless wimp.”

Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is facing criticism from conservatives for vetoing a bill that would have banned transgender surgeries and procedures for minors.

Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act, prohibited physicians from performing gender transition procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries on minors.

Transgender surgeries include vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, breast implants, and facial surgeries.

The SAFE Act passed the state’s Senate last week. Hutchinson had signed a similar bill in late March banning biological men from participating in women’s sports, but vetoed the SAFE Act Monday, describing the bill as a “vast government overreach,” and adding that the state shouldn’t jump into every “medical, human, and ethical issue.”

His veto was met with swift criticism from conservatives like the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, who called Hutchinson a “useless coward” and “worthless wimp.”

American Principles Project (APP) Director of Policy and Government Affairs Jon Schweppe told the DCNF Tuesday that “almost all conservatives understand that government still has a role to play in protecting its citizens from harm — and young children truly are being harmed right now by those in the medical establishment who are placing an extreme ideology above science.”

Both Schweppe and APP President Terry Schilling previously condemned Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem when she refused to sign H.B. 1217, a bill banning biological males from women’s sports. Noem pushed back on accusations that she caved to pressure from groups like the NCAA, emphasizing that she wants long-term solutions that will protect South Dakota girls.

Schweppe compared Hutchinson and Noem’s actions, noting that Hutchinson still signed a bill protecting women’s sports despite vetoing the SAFE Act.

“So while it’s unfortunate he chose to veto this bill, and we believe he was wrong to do so, he’s still done more good than Kristi Noem, who couldn’t stand firm in defense of female athletes in South Dakota even as other states were taking action,” Schweppe said.

“But on the whole, this is yet another sign that conservatives need to be relentless in making sure we are holding our elected officials accountable to the voters they represent, who do not want the left’s extreme cultural agenda foisted upon them and their children,” Schweppe said. “This is a non-negotiable.”

Hutchinson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

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