Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee are calling for an investigation into Vanderbilt University Medical Center following allegations that it has been performing body mutilating surgeries on teenagers suffering from gender dysphoria.
Blackburn raised concerns about the reports of youth being given puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones that can lead to sterilization, remarking that she was “shocked” by the content in VUMC's videos in a Tuesday tweet.
“We would hope that VUMC would make better decisions,” she wrote. “There is nothing healthy about mutilating the bodies of minor children. We need an investigation into VUMC putting profits ahead of children immediately.”
In a statement to The Daily Wire, Tennessee’s governor called for an investigation into the university’s pediatric clinic, noting that it raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns.
“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.
In a series of tweets this week, The Daily Wire's podcast host Matt Walsh said that the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at the Nashville-based Vanderbilt “drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors.”
Walsh shared a screenshot of a now-deleted webpage outlining the services provided at the children’s hospital’s Pediatric Transgender Clinic, specifically “gender-affirming hormone therapy” and “pubertal blocking.” Walsh noted that “at some point in the last month they removed explicit admission of this fact from their site.”
The most recent archived version of the webpage, captured on Aug. 31, removed the list of services the hospital provides to trans-identified children, but still mentioned that the clinic "provides care to gender variant and transgender children and adolescents," adding: “Our clinic offers a setting for your family to receive education and resources regarding medical transition."
“Before we begin such treatments as pubertal blocking or gender-affirming therapy, we require a letter from a mental health provider and informed consent,” the modified webpage read.
As of Wednesday morning, those seeking to access the webpage receive a message informing them that “This page could not be found.”
A video shared by Walsh showed Vanderbilt health law expert Dr. Ellen Clayton stating that doctors who refuse to provide body-mutilating surgeries (removing breasts and genitals) due to their religious beliefs will face consequences. Clayton also referred to “conscientious objections” to such surgeries as “problematic.”
“If you don’t want to do this kind of work, don’t work at Vanderbilt,” she said.
VUMC did not respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment.
Brent Leatherwood, the Tennessee-based president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote in a tweet that the university has turned children into “pawns of culture war experimentation.”
“Equally upsetting are the threats levied against those whose conscience objects to this work or whose religious beliefs compel them to speak against it,” he added. “Steamrolling those individuals’ convictions, especially when it involved children, should be a concern for every one of us.”
Leatherwood highlighted the report as an example of why Christians must be prepared to bear witness to “God’s creation of male and female,” citing Genesis 1:27. He called on Christians to be “resolute,” noting that “God alone is the Lord of the conscience.”
“This is what undergirds our Commission’s work on behalf of our churches to strongly oppose such things as the Transgender Mandate and other related initiatives that threaten conscience rights, religious freedom, and, as we’ve seen here, cause irreparable harm,” the ERLC president concluded.
Concerns about minors disfiguring their bodies by taking sterilizing drugs or maiming their bodies by undergoing trans surgeries also emerged this month after a leading LGBT health association removed the minimum age requirement for obtaining puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or genital-mutilating surgeries.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) published its Standards of Care 8th Edition in the International Journal of Transgender Health earlier this month. The journal later issued a correction, removing sections related to “suggested minimal ages” for offering so-called “gender-affirming care” or “surgical treatment.”
According to a 2017 study titled “Age is Just a Number” that was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, among 20 surgeons affiliated with WPATH, more than half said they have “performed vaginoplasty [on] minors.”
WPATH maintained that the “primary goal” is for youth to work alongside their parents or guardian regarding “important gender care decisions.” However, the new guidelines suggest that parental consent should not be required if parents have rejected their “child’s gender needs.”
“In these situations, youth may require the engagement of larger systems of advocacy and support to move forward with the necessary support and care.”