Hours after former Vice President Mike Pence announced his presidential candidacy, he faced tough questions at a town hall event, defending his stance that children should not undergo gender transition procedures. Despite accusations of hypocrisy, Pence firmly maintained that protecting children from “radical gender ideology” was the right decision.
During the town hall event, CNN’s Dana Bash questioned Pence on his support for legislation banning transgender children from receiving gender-affirming care, even with parental consent. She highlighted Pence’s emphasis on parents’ rights during his campaign and asked why he believed the government should overrule parents’ decisions in this case. Pence responded, citing his support for state legislation that bans gender transition chemical or surgical procedures for minors under the age of 18, referring to the potential consequences on their mental health.
Bash pressed further, asking what if parents support their child’s decision to undergo such procedures. Pence, speaking as a father and grandfather, compared gender transition procedures to getting a tattoo and argued that children may not have the necessary judgment to make life-altering decisions. Bash countered that the government does not regulate tattoos, prompting Pence to emphasize that gender transition procedures can have “profound negative deleterious effects” on mental health and that it was proper for state governments to protect children from these procedures until they reach adulthood.
Pence’s controversial statements during the town hall fueled debate, but the former Vice President remained steadfast in his position that state governments should draw a line when it comes to children’s exposure and participation in “radical gender ideology,” prioritizing their protection over parental rights in these instances.