"Image is always important for a governor," Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) admitted at the end of his Monday press conference on the SAFE Act. And unfortunately I think it was ultimately image -- not protecting children -- that drove his decision to veto a bill that would have saved Arkansas's kids from a lifetime of misery. "I hope that my statement today... causes Republicans to think again about who we are," he insisted. Let's hope it does. Because if passing a common-sense laws that stops children from being sterilized is controversial, then there are a number of Republican leaders that have some soul-searching to do.
"I looked at this bill," he explained, and thought, "'Where do I want my voice to be?'" Now, unfortunately, we know: his voice is on the side of a radical ideology that's literally destroying people for life. In Hutchinson's opinion, asking a child to wait until they're 18 to have irreversible surgery or access untested hormones is "denying care," a "vast government overreach," "off-course and misinformed." Sounding eerily similar to pro-abortion activists, he insisted that asking kids to press pause on dangerous treatments is "interfering in the doctor-patient relationship."
"Part of our Republican principles is a restrained government," Hutchinson argued. Then, mindful of the damage done to his conservative credentials, he launched into a passionate defense of the unborn. "I'm pro-life... I sign those bills. I support those bills. I want those bills. ...[But] is this really the role of the state?" Well, it seems to be the role of the state to stop children from driving, from drinking, from smoking, from getting tattoos, and from doing other drugs before they're an adult. Why would subjecting them to life-altering medical harm be any different?
Fortunately for Arkansans, the governor gets one vote -- and he cast it. "I've acted," he said, "based on the assumption that [my veto] will be overridden." Let's hope he's right. As even Hutchinson admitted, the bill had "very strong support." Even more than that, it had strong leaders. For weeks, the state's legislature has showed true courage in the face of the Left's disinformation campaign. They can't stop now. Under the leadership of state Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R) and Sen. Alan Clark (R), Arkansas made history passing the first-of-its kind protection for minors. It's time to finish the job and do what Governor Hutchinson wouldn't: save our sons and daughters from irreversible harm.
For more on the SAFE Act and what you can do to stop this runaway train from affecting your children, check out FRC.org/SAFEAct for legislation near you.