Political commentator Jon Stewart isn’t a lawyer, but he did a masterful teardown of an Arkansas law to prevent gender-affirming medical care for children ― and he did it in front of the state attorney general.
Although a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the 2021 law in August, a trial is scheduled for this month on whether to permanently block the law.
But Attorney General Leslie Rutledge couldn’t put together a great defense during an interview with Stewart for her Apple TV series, “The Trouble With Jon Stewart,” based on the clip below.
“Why would the State of Arkansas step in to override the parents, the doctors, the psychiatrists, the endocrinologists who developed guidelines. Why would you want to override these guidelines? the television host, writer and comedian asked Rutledge.
The Arkansas Attorney General responded that for each of experts quoted by Stewart, “there’s another expert to say we don’t need to allow children to take these drugs.”
“But you know that’s not true,” Stewart said. “You know it’s not ‘for everyone, there’s one’.”
Rutledge then claimed that there were many people who testified before the state legislature who said “98% of young people who have gender dysphoria… are able to overcome that. And once they get the help they need, they no longer suffer from gender dysphoria. 98%.”
“Wow,” Stewart said sarcastically. “It’s an incredibly made up number. This does not match any of the studies or documentation that exists from these medical organizations. What medical association are you talking about?
Rutledge didn’t expect to be asked about the dubious statistic.
“We have all of this in our legislative history, and we will be happy to provide it to you. I don’t have the name of that in mind,” Rutledge said.
She also couldn’t name experts and medical associations who would support her ban, saying she did not expect “a debate in the Supreme Court”.
Rutledge also struggled to explain why she, as a parent of a 4-year-old, would take a doctor’s advice if her child had cancer, but not if the youngster had gender dysphoria.
Stewart couldn’t help but poke fun at Rutledge’s defense of the ban.
“You make it look like a 9-year-old walks into a doctor’s office and says, ‘Give me some testosterone,’ and the doctor says, ‘Oh, thank God, because we want to create a transgender army ― because we are crazy,” Stewart said at one point.
Many Twitter users praised Stewart’s probing questions.