Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Sunday defended a bill he signed last month that bars transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming medical care, saying he wants to see more data on the effects of those treatments.

In an interview on NBC News’ «Meet the Press,» Cox, a Republican, said: «It’s not just about providing care or not providing care, it’s about whether we might be harming young people, without having enough evidence to see what the long-term results of this are and provide better psychiatric help for those young people who are going through this.

Pressed by host Chuck Todd about whether he is comfortable making the decision for children to seek gender-affirming care away from their parents, Cox said the ban pushes accessibility to «pause» until there is «better data.»

«Well, we took power away from [parents] in many things that involve our youth. If there is potential long-term harm to our children, we need to find it,» Cox said. “And what Utah did was just pause until we get better data. We have a mandate in the bill to go out and look at the best data across the country and then make a decision.»

Transgender rights «has become such a toxic topic that it’s hard to have a rational conversation» about it, Cox said, later adding that «if we could get out of the culture war part of this and have this kind of rational conversations, I would like to feel much better.»

Utah this year became the first state to ban gender-affirming health care for transgender minors after Cox signed the bill late last month, about a week after it passed in the state legislature.

The legislation, which places an indefinite moratorium on minors’ access to puberty blockers and hormone therapy, is prospective, meaning transgender youth who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the effective date will be able to receive care if they meet a list of requirements. .

In a statement signing the bill, Cox said legislation that affects «our most vulnerable youth requires careful consideration and deliberation.»

«While not a perfect bill, we are grateful for Senator Kennedy’s more nuanced and thoughtful approach to this terribly divisive issue,» Cox said in a statement, referring to the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Michael Kennedy. «While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures.» .

Last year, Cox vetoed a bill that would have banned transgender students from playing women’s sports. he quoted research on the high risk of suicide among young trans people in an emotional letter explaining his ban.

“I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel this way. But I want them to live,” Cox wrote in a letter about his veto. “And all the research shows that even a little bit of acceptance and connection can significantly reduce suicidality.”