A groundswell of lawmakers are demanding an investigation into a Nashville pediatric gender clinic after shocking videos showed a doctor calling certain transgender surgeries “huge money makers” and a health law expert saying conscientious objections to the surgeries are “problematic.”
The Pediatric Transgender Clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) 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 an 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 in one video.
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 has “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.
Vanderbilt opened its trans clinic in 2018. During a lecture the same year, Dr. Shayne Taylor explained how she convinced Nashville to get into the gender transition game. She emphasized that it's a "big money maker," especially because the surgeries require a lot of "follow ups" pic.twitter.com/zedM7HBCBe
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 20, 2022
Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee quickly called for an investigation into the clinic for children.
“The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns,” Lee said in a statement to The Daily Wire.
“We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation,” Lee said.
Other lawmakers added their voices to Lee’s in calling for an investigation, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
“We are shocked by what we have seen in these videos. We would hope that VUMC would make better decisions. There is nothing healthy about mutilating the bodies of minor children. We need an investigation into VUMC putting profits ahead of children immediately,” Blackburn tweeted.
“THIS. IS. HORRIBLE,” tweeted former Wisconsin governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker.
At least two U.S. congressmen expressed their outrage and called for an investigation.
Rep. John Rose (R-TN) tweeted that Walsh’s discovery about Vanderbilt is “horrific.”
“Children are being permanently, physically altered for financial gain – it is inexcusable,” Rose wrote, adding that he stands with the governor in calling for an investigation.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) also said he stands with Lee in “demanding a thorough investigation,” calling the revelations “incredibly disheartening and completely unacceptable.”
“Tennessee children deserve better than what’s happening at VUMC,” Fleischmann tweeted.
Tennessee Republican Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson added his voice to the chorus.
“Completely agree with @GovBillLee. I will do everything in my power to support this investigation,” Johnson tweeted.
Several state congressmen joined in as well.
“Giving hormone replacement treatments to minors is unconscionable but threatened doctors with ‘consequences’ who have religious objections is against everything this country stands for. The Legislature can and will act to correct this next session and I will lead that fight,” tweeted state Rep. Jeremy Faison, the Tennessee House Republican Caucus Chairman.
“This evil can not stand in TN. The Legislature must address such abuse of children and act to protect those who face consequences for their religious objections. This will be a priority for me in 2023,” tweeted state Rep. Jason Zachary (R-TN).
State Rep. William Lamberth (R-TN) said he was “deeply troubled” by the news and that Lee is “right to call for an investigation and we will support that investigation 100%.”
“This type of child mutilation should be illegal and soon will be in TN,” Lamberth tweeted.
After the videos went viral and sparked outrage, VUMC released a statement.
“Vanderbilt University Medical Center is now the subject of social media posts and a video that misrepresent facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients,” the hospital said.
The hospital said it requires parental consent to treat a minor patient for transgender issues and “never refuses parental involvement” in the care of trans-identifying minors.
VUMC also said that the hospital’s policies do “allow employees to decline to participate in care they find morally objectionable, and do not permit discrimination against employees who choose to do so.”
“This includes employees whose personal or religious beliefs do not support gender-affirming care for transgender persons,” VUMC said.
This article has been updated to clarify that Dr. Shayne Sebold Taylor is not involved with pediatric transgender surgeries.