Republicans Consider Ban on Gender Transition Surgeries for Troops

The House of Representatives voted down an amendment that would have put a ban on Pentagon-funded transgender surgeries. "You're joining the USA military", he said.

The House of Representatives voted down a measure on Thursday that would have banned the coverage of transition-related health care for transgender troops. Hartzler said the measure would ensure the military's tax-funded budget is spent exclusively on defense purposes.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis decided late last month to give the military chiefs another six months to conduct a review to determine if letting transgender people enlist in the armed services will affect the "readiness or lethality" of the force.

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifted the ban on transgender people serving in the military last year and troops have been able to access "medically necessary" treatment since October of last year. "We applaud those members from both parties who stood up for the thousands of transgender service members proudly serving their country".

On Thursday the House rejected an attempt to prevent the Pentagon from paying for gender transition treatment.

"Republicans should be ashamed: instead of protecting the men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedoms, they are fighting to rip away the health care of thousands of courageous service members", Pelosi said in a statement.

Congress has defeated an attempt to prohibit the military from providing or covering medical treatment such as hormones or gender confirmation surgery for active transgender military members.

The ACLU is sending a letter to the House today to vote against this discriminatory and unconstitutional amendment.

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Transgender troops now in the military have been able to serve openly since previous year.

Of the 200 amendments to the $696 billion National Defense Authorization Act that were being debated in the House, the transgender amendment - offered by conservative Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri - was one of the more contentious, CNN notes.

Sarah McBride, spokesperson for the LGBT lobby group Human Rights Campaign, reported, "If only three Members of Congress had voted yes instead [i.e., FOR the measure denying taxpayer funding to the Pentagon for transsexual "sex reassignment surgeries"], this unsafe and discriminatory anti-transgender amendment would have passed".

The Rules Committee approved her amendment 10-2 along party lines, with Democratic Reps. If a doctor says transition-related care is necessary, the group wrote, "that treatment should be provided just as it would be for any other medical condition for any other service member".

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California called on the GOP to withdraw the amendment, which she said was "designed to attack the health and dignity of men and women who serve our country".

A 2016 analysis by Rand Corp. found that the impact on military readiness would be minimal, since even the highest estimates indicate that less than 0.1 percent of the total force would ever seek transition-related medical care that would hinder their deployment.

The proposal could go before House lawmakers early as Thursday, as the chamber considers the almost $700 billion defense spending bill for the upcoming fiscal year.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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