NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee's senior Sen. Marsha Blackburn called for an FDA investigation into puberty blockers amid questions about Vanderbilt University Medical Center's handling of gender-affirming care in children.
VUMC officials witnessed a firestorm from Tennessee legislative lawmakers and conservative blogger Matt Walsh from The Daily Wire after Walsh called into question what the hospital does for those transitioning genders.
Rep. Williams Lamberth, R-Portland, and Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, have said they would work on a bill to address the issue, but VUMC said they haven't broken state laws. Gov. Bill Lee also jumped into express his disdain over what VUMC was doing.
VUMC said they require parental consent to treat minors who are being seen for issues to those receiving gender-affirming care and never refuse parental involvement for those under 18. VUMC officials said they began their Transgender Health Clinic because "transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently underserved by the U.S. health system."
“Using children for profit and political gain is deeply disturbing. Experts agree that there have not been enough clinical trials conducted to prove the safety and effectiveness of using these drugs on kids,” Blackburn said. “These drugs have not been approved for treating children experiencing gender dysphoria, but the left insists on experimenting on these children anyway.”
Blackburn said she wanted the FDA to opine and provide information on puberty blockers to treat minor children who wish to transition
However, the ACLU-Tennessee said it felt entirely different about the proposal from lawmakers and the premise that gender-affirming care hurt children. ACLU-Tennessee’s trans justice program is staffed by a trans justice advocate, a trans justice staff attorney and a lobbyist fighting discrimination against trans Tennesseans.
“We’re deeply disturbed by the governor’s choice to stigmatize transgender children and their families and legislators’ calls to introduce legislation restricting trans people’s access to health care. The doctors that provide trans youth with this critical care are saving lives. They support children and their families by allowing them to thrive, and these professionals are nothing short of heroes,” said Henry Seaton, ACLU-TN transgender justice advocate. “For the trans Tennesseans who see this hateful action and are fearful because of it — know that ACLU-TN will always advocate for the rights of children and families to make informed and safe private medical decisions. It is our priority to save trans lives and keep our trans community members safe."