House Votes Down Proposed Ban on Military-Funded Transgender Surgeries
00:30, Jul 15, 2017
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"This was a horrifying, vicious attack on service members and military family members, and our families were beside themselves in fear", said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack.
The amendment was immediately blasted by military LGBT groups, who said it was "cruel" to deny such health benefits to Americans serving in the military.
Transgender troops were unable to serve openly in the military until June 2016, and could not receive medical care or formally change their gender identity through the Pentagon until October 2016.
Hartzler previously offered an amendment to the NDAA to prohibit transgender people from openly serving in the military, and has characterized allowing transgender people to do so as a "domestic threat". "This current policy of providing and paying for transgender surgeries hurts readiness".
HRC called the amendment "outrageous" and protested: "It is imperative that the House of Representatives reject this harmful amendment". Two dozen Republicans opposed the measure, which comes at a time when the military is still adapting to the open service of transgender troops.
"By recruiting and allowing "transgender" individuals to serve in our military we are subjecting taxpayers to high medical costs, including up to $130,000 per transition surgery, lifetime hormone treatments, and additional surgeries to address the high percentage of individuals who experience complications", Rep. Hartzler said, adding that "transgender" surgeries alone could cost USA taxpayers $1.35 billion over the next 10 years.
The ACLU has sent letters to House members urging them to vote against the Hartzler Amendment.
Had the amendment passed, it would have restricted funds available to the Department of Defense to go toward transition-related health care affecting thousands of transgender members of the armed forces and military families.
Transgender troops now in the military have been able to serve openly since past year.
Rep. Hartzler stated that she was pleased with the decision to delay the enlistment policy, and will continue to press for a full reversal of the Defense Department's transgender policy. "Cisgender service members could take hormones for birth control, to treat a gynecological condition or other conditions requiring hormone replacement therapy; but it is uniquely banned for transgender people".
Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, said that with the country trillions of dollar in debt, refusing to provide services to transgender people is "really just a priority issue".
Democrats objected to the amendment as discriminatory and a step backwards from the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" that allowed gay and lesbian service members to serve openly.
In a July 13 HRC conference call in anticipation of the vote, Activist Shari Swokowski, a transgender armed-services veteran, said, "I'm appalled that anyone would withdraw medical care from anyone. It's a social agenda that has no business being in the defense bill".
A Pentagon-commissioned study by the RAND corporation on the cost of gender transition-related health care for transgender personnel found that it would cost the DOD between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.
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