WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Twenty-four Republicans crossed the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday to retain military funding of transgender surgery in the defense budget.
The House voted 209–214 to dismiss an amendment that would've stopped the Pentagon from paying for the transition-related medical care of transgender troops. The defeated provision was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act passed last December, which authorized military spending for gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for both service members and their families.
The provision was filed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who expressed concern over funding the high-priced surgeries on the military's financially strapped budget. She was further concerned over the decrease in troop readiness, owing to post-surgery recovery time.
"There are many problems, but funding transition surgeries with tax dollars are problematic because the surgery is very costly," said Hartzler. "Surgical recovery time decreases the deployability of our soldiers and funding transition surgeries means diverting money from other defense priorities."
Last summer, then-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that transgender military personnel could serve openly in the military. "Starting today, otherwise qualified service members can no longer be involuntarily separated, discharged or denied re-enlistment for the continuation of service just for being transgender," said Carter.
He further announced that the military would start paying for medical costs associated with "gender-reassignment surgery," provided that it was deemed "medically necessary" by physicians.
"We will take care of [transgender service members] and pay for necessary medical treatment," said Carter. He added that healthcare provisions assisting in the "transition" of gender are becoming politically and socially "normalized."
Last December, the military carved out money in its already lean budget to accommodate this policy of paying for hormone therapy and reassignment surgery of military personnel and their families, who go through this process of gender transitioning.
Hartzler's provision would've banned military spending on this elective procedure. House Democrat Nancy Pelosi argued against the amendment, saying that not paying for such surgery amounts to discrimination against transgender service members.
"Make no mistake, the effect and the intent of this unjust and mean-spirited amendment is to ban patriotic Americans from serving our country," said the House Minority Leader. "It is designed to throw transgender service members out of the military."
Congressman Duncan Hunter disagreed, saying the amendment to ban such spending didn't prevent transgenders from serving. "You're joining the U.S. military. Choose what gender you are before you serve," Hunter remarked.
On June 30, current Defense Secretary James Mattis postponed the opening of the military to transgender recruits. This occurred one day before the deadline set by Carter for allowing all four branches of the military to accept openly transgender enlistments. This postponement, however, doesn't keep current soldiers from transitioning. Prior to this open door policy, service members, who suffered from gender dysphoria, were automatically discharged.
In spite of the postponement by Mattis, the Army is still moving forward with its transgender indoctrination, which takes the place of physical training every morning. The new transgender guidelines state a soldier need only obtain a diagnosis from a doctor and change his gender in the military's database prior to showering with members of the opposite sex.