DOD Woke Agenda

Members Of Congress Call On VA To Reject Proposal For ‘Gender Affirming Surgical Center’

By Micaela Burrow  |  The Daily Caller News Foundation

Members of Congress are calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to reject a proposal from a VA center in Washington to set up a sex-change surgery clinic, according to a letter obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A VA medical center in Puget Sound, Washington, however, applied for more than $1.5 million from the VA to fund a “Comprehensive Gender Affirming Surgical Center,” apparently under the expectation the VA’s taxpayer-funded health-care system would soon cover procedures to forge artificial body parts for U.S. military veterans, documents obtained by the DCNF via a public records request showed.

GOP members of Congress, in a letter sent Friday, condemned the VA facility for planning an expansion of transgender procedures with taxpayers’ money while the rule to authorize VA funding of major sex-change procedures remains stalled on the secretary’s desk.

“This request is insulting to American taxpayers and particularly to our nation’s veterans,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter addressed to VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

“These procedures are not a health care priority for American veterans,” they said.

Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Mary Miller of Illinois, Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Greg Steube of Florida, Troy Nehls of Texas, Pat Fallon of Texas, Brian Babin of Texas and William Timmons of South Carolina signed the letter.

The lawmakers gave McDonough a March 1 deadline to answer whether the agency had approved the VA Puget Sound center’s proposal and to supply data on annual expenses on so-called “gender-affirming care.”

The VA previously told the DCNF that no VA center currently operates a gender surgery clinic. The VA has not yet approved such surgical procedures.

The gender-affirming surgical center at the VA medical center in Puget Sound would incur estimated expenses of $642,562 in 2023 and more than $1.5 million by 2027, according to a proposal that appeared to be submitted to the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) National Surgery Office (NSO) showed.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to pay $102,000 for a laser hair-removal machine when veterans across this country struggle to find adequate care for chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.

However, VA Puget Sound has injected its gender ideology into its clinical work, blinding it to the clear needs of our veterans,” the lawmakers said in their letter.

The VA facility at Puget Sound, like many other clinics under the Veterans Health Administration, currently offers a wide spectrum of transgender treatments, including hormone therapy, hysterectomies, orchiectomies, equipment to help create the appearance of being the opposite gender and referrals to private doctors for major sex-change procedures.

But the VA facility said it was committed to expanding options for LGBTQ+ veterans. The surgery clinic would serve an estimated 12,000 veterans with a confirmed diagnosis of gender dysphoria, according to the proposal.

“Seattle is a sanctuary city for LGBTQ+ refugees from across the United States,” the proposal read. “Our facility is committed to continuing and expanding these medically necessary, lifesaving services,” it stated.

Expanded treatments include vaginoplasty, which is the construction of a false vagina on males, and phalloplasty or metoidioplasty, two different procedures that involve surgically constructing a false penis on females. Cosmetic surgeries, particularly phalloplasty, come with serious risk of painful complications and can require long-term care.

“For decades, the VA Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington, has offered a variety of harmful treatments and procedures for gender-dysphoric patients including hormone, therapy, hysterectomies, orchiectomies, and prosthetics,” the lawmakers wrote to McDonough.

“Nevertheless, this facility aims to expand these operations and reportedly spend more than $1.5 million by 2027 on a genital mutilation center. This will fund cosmetic surgeries that often result in dangerous complications.

“Unfortunately, the failure of these procedures is expressed by some of the drafters as an opportunity to ask for additional resources, rather than a reason to stop risky procedures,” they wrote. They called the center’s plan “heartbreaking.”

The proposal also requested $102,000 for advanced permanent hair removal equipment, yearly salaries matching or exceeding $330,000 for plastic surgeons and thousands in additional equipment between 2023 and 2027 to establish the gender clinic.

It’s unclear whether the VHA will accept the proposal. A spokesperson previously told the DCNF that no VA facilities have operational gender surgery clinics.

“No VA facilities – including VA Puget Sound – have or are developing comprehensive gender affirming care surgery centers,” VA spokesperson Terrence Hayes told the DCNF. “While the rulemaking process on gender affirming surgery at VA is still underway, VA continues to provide all other types of gender affirming care to Veterans.”

The VHA told VA Puget Sound that funding to specifically support existing transgender treatment programs was available in fiscal year 2023, which ended Sept. 30, the documents show.

McDonough has come out strongly in favor of implementing major sex change surgeries, according to the VA website.

POSITION PAPER: DOD Transgender Policies

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