House of Reps. rejects attempt to ban gender confirmation surgery for trans troops
The Republican-led House narrowly rejected a measure on Thursday that sought to strike an Obama-era practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy.
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a measure that would have undone an Obama-era policy requiring coverage of hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgery for transgender members of the military.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, the Republican legislator who authored the bill, claimed that covering transition-related healthcare would cost too much money, as well as resources in the form of troops unable to serve while recovering from surgery.
Her awful quote: “It makes no sense to create soldiers who are unable to fight and win our nation’s wars.”
Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system. A Rand Corp. study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active-duty military, and another 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.
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. However, the delay doesn’t affect transgender troops who already are serving openly in the military.
Hartzler, a four-term congresswoman who has been mentioned as a possible 2018 challenger to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has suggested forcing transgender service members out of the military services. But she backed away from her plan last month, saying she would give Mattis and other senior military leaders the room to settle personnel matters internally.