Utah governor defends bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) on Sunday defended a new bill that bans gender-affirming care for minors in the state, arguing the legislature needs to pause access until more data is available.
“The total number of people that identify as trans in America is 0.5 percent … There are over 299 bills that have been introduced, two-thirds of them this year alone target trans people. Again, 0.5 percent … What is this obsession?” host Chuck Todd asked Cox on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”
“Well, I think it is a growing number. In fact, it’s a vastly growing number. If you go back just 10 years ago and look at the numbers — and here’s the problem. This has become such a toxic issue that it’s hard to have a rational conversation around it,” Cox countered.
“It’s not just about providing care or not providing care. It’s about whether we might potentially be harming young people, not having enough evidence to see what the long-term results of this are, and providing better psychiatric help for those young people who are going through this,” the governor said, arguing he’d looked to other countries, like France and Finland, for data as he worked on the legislation.
Cox signed a bill late last month making Utah the first state in 2023 to restrict minors from access to puberty blockers, hormones and surgical procedures.
The governor on Sunday stressed the bill pauses access for new patients until more research and “better data” is available to assess the long-term consequences of the procedures.
“If we could get outside of the cultural war piece of this and have these kind of rational conversations, I would feel much better about this. I fully admit, there are people on my side of the aisle that are targeting — that do not have their best interests at heart, right?” Cox said.
“I think there are people on the left that are promoting these things who also don’t have the best interests of some of these kids at heart, and I think we should be able to sit down [and have] rational conversations.”
Todd noted that the Utah bill takes some power away from parents, a hot-button topic among Republicans in talks on education.
“Well, we take power away on a lot of things involving our young people. If there is potential long-term harm for our kids, we need to find that,” Cox said.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.