Vanderbilt Transgender Health Clinic suspends gender confirmation surgery for minors – WSVN 7News | Miami news, weather, sports

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – The transgender clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville has temporarily halted gender confirmation operations for patients under 18, a senior executive at the center told a Tennessee lawmaker Friday.

Tennessee Republican Representative Jason Zachary — who has asked VUMC to permanently end gender confirmation surgeries for minors — posted a Twitter message he received from VUMC’s chief health system official, Dr. C. Wright Benson.

In the letter, Benson told the lawmaker that the nonprofit hospital is “pausing” gender confirmation processes for patients under 18 while it reviews “new recommendations.”

The move came amid pressure from Republican leaders in Tennessee who sent a letter to the hospital last week asking Vanderbilt Medical to halt all sex-change surgeries for minors.

Gender affirmation care uses a multidisciplinary approach to help a person move from their assigned gender — the gender identified at birth — to the gender the person wants to be known as.

Benson said the suspension is due to the ongoing review of new guidelines on treating transgender patients from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and noted that the review “may take several months,” according to the letter.

A VUMC spokesperson confirmed to CNN Friday that the letter was legitimate but declined to provide further details about the clinic’s new policy.

Benson’s letter said the Transgender Health Clinic, founded in 2018, provided surgical services to an average of five minors annually. In all of these cases, the patients were at least 16 years old, had parental consent and “none of them had any reproductive procedures,” the executive said.

Restrictions on sex confirmation procedures for minors have become a contentious political issue in some states, including Texas, where there is an ongoing legal battle over whether parents who allow sex confirmation sponsorship for their children can be investigated for “child abuse.”

Major medical associations—including the American Medical Association—have agreed that gender affirmation care is clinically appropriate for children and adults with gender dysphoria, which, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is psychological distress that may result when a person’s sex and gender is identified at birth. are aligned.

Last year, the Tennessee legislature passed a law banning hormone therapy for children who have not yet reached puberty, and Republican lawmakers are discussing passing additional restrictions next year.

The Tennessee Civil Liberties Union issued a statement last month condemning lawmakers’ plans to impose additional restrictions.

“Parents, patients, and medical professionals, not politicians, should decide which medical care is in the best interest of any given young person,” Cathy Senbak, executive director of the Tennessee Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. “Medical and mental health treatment for transgender individuals is guided by evidence-based clinical guidelines, as well as existing state law that already regulates heterosexual health care. Efforts to restrict access to health care for transgender people in Tennessee are widespread government overreach and the US Federation Civil liberties are willing to fight interference with the private medical decision rights of parents and families when seeking gender assertive care.”

The VUMC CEO letter acknowledged the possibility of new legal restrictions on gender confirmation care, saying the facility would comply with Tennessee law.

“We understand that this issue is likely to be taken up by the General Assembly at its next legislative session,” Benson said. “As always, we will ensure that VUMC programs comply with any new requirements that may be established as part of Tennessee law.”

The letter goes on to say that VUMC’s policies “allow employees to request accommodation to be excused from participating in surgeries or procedures that they believe are morally objectionable.” In a tweet, Zachary described this statement as a promise to “honor religious objectors”.

State House Republican Leader William Lamberth called the VUMC decision a “win.”

“This is a victory for the safety of our children, but we are committed to ensuring that this does not happen in Tennessee again,” Lamberth wrote on Twitter.

CNN Wire

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