Tennessee House Republicans on Wednesday formally requested that Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), which offers adult transgender and pediatric transgender surgeries, immediately halt gender surgeries on children.
In a letter signed by 62 state House members, Republican Rep. Jason Zachary said he and his colleagues are “alarmed” by reports about the “surgical mutilations of minor children” at VUMC’s Pediatric Transgender Clinic.
“The Vanderbilt Pediatric Transgender Clinic’s practices qualify as nothing less than abuse,” the letter stated.
“We, the elected representative body of the state of Tennessee, ask members of the VUMC Board of Directors to take immediate action by halting all permanent gender transitioning surgeries being performed on minor children,” the lawmakers wrote.
This is a time in which elected leaders must boldly lead and speak on behalf of the people.
I’ve been joined by my esteemed @tnhousegop colleagues in formally requesting that Vanderbilt Medical halt all gender transition surgeries on minors.
— Rep. Jason Zachary (@JasonZacharyTN) September 28, 2022
The letter also requested that VUMC honor all “conscientious objectors” who refuse to participate in the surgeries due to their religious beliefs.
“Tennesseans across our state have demanded a swift response and a call to action. We agree that these revelations require the legislature to act immediately,” the letter stated.
Last week, a groundswell of lawmakers demanded an investigation into the Nashville pediatric gender clinic after shocking videos showed a Vanderbilt doctor calling certain transgender surgeries “huge money makers.” A health law expert also called conscientious objections to transgender surgeries “problematic.”
The clinic performs “gender-affirming” double mastectomies on minor girls and offers puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors as well, according to an expose from The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh.
In one video uncovered by Walsh, a Vanderbilt doctor affiliated with the adult transgender clinic, but not the pediatric one, can be seen emphasizing the dollar signs around gender surgery.
“It’s a lot of money. These surgeries make a lot of money,” VUMC Clinic for Transgender Health’s Dr. Shayne Sebold Taylor said.
Taylor said that “gender-affirming” double mastectomies could bring in $40,000, and a female-to-male phalloplasty could bring in upwards of $100,000.
Another doctor says that objecting to gender surgery for religious or other reasons should have “consequences.”
“I just want you to take home that saying that you’re not going to do something because of your religious beliefs is not without consequences and it should not be without consequences,” said Vanderbilt health law expert and pediatrician Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton.
“If you don’t want to do this kind of work, don’t work at Vanderbilt,” Clayton added.
Zachary, who represents the Knoxville area, said Wednesday that he finds the hospital’s apparent desire to profit from gender surgeries concerning.
“It is deeply troubling that Vanderbilt University Medical Center appears to be motivated by profits in its practice of recommending such radical and life-altering surgery for minors,” Zachary said Wednesday.
“We expect Vanderbilt’s Board of Directors to simply do what is right by choosing to protect the well-being and health of vulnerable children,” he added.
Last week, the governor and state lawmakers said they were also discussing legislative solutions. Republican Governor Bill Lee’s office said he is in contact with the state’s top lawmakers about potential legislation.
“We should not allow permanent, life altering decisions that hurt children, like we saw on display at VUMC. The Governor is in communication with Leader Johnson and Leader Lamberth about legislative solutions, and we look forward to working with them and many other Tennesseans who are passionate about protecting children,” Casey Sellers, a spokeswoman for the governor, told The Daily Wire last week in a statement.