Vanderbilt pauses gender surgeries on minors after backlash
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 7, 2022 / 17:56 pm
Vanderbilt University Medical Hospital has paused irreversible gender surgeries on children following Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s calls for investigation after pressure from social media activists.
The decision was made public Friday afternoon, announced in a letter written by the university medical center’s deputy CEO, C. Wright Pinson.
“You have asked that VUMC halt permanent gender affirmation surgeries being performed on minors,” Pinson wrote Oct. 7.
The letter went on to say that due to recently updated guidelines from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the medical center would be conducting an internal clinical review on the program.
“We are pausing gender affirmation surgeries on patients under age 18 while we complete this review, which may take several months,” Pinson continued.
He also said that the medical center would comply with “any new requirements which may be established as part of Tennessee law,” referencing the fact that the issue will be brought up before the state’s next legislative session.
Matt Walsh, host of The Daily Wire podcast, who first exposed the hospital’s programs in a series of tweets in late September, took to Twitter celebrating the decision.
“HUGE NEWS,” Walsh wrote in the tweet. “Following our report, Vanderbilt has agreed to pause all gender transition surgeries on minors. The fight is far from over but this will save children from mutilation and abuse.”
“An incredibly important victory,” he added. “Praise God.”
Lee called for an investigation into Vanderbilt University Medical Center after faculty comments on the lucrative nature of transgender surgeries were brought into the public eye earlier this fall, when Walsh shared recordings of the comments in the Sept. 20 edition of his podcast “The Matt Walsh Show.”
The Republican governor had said in a statement to The Daily Wire that the university’s pediatric transgender clinic raised “serious moral, ethical and legal concerns.”
Following the outcry, Walsh announced in a tweet that he and Tennessee state officials would be working on legislation that will “shut down Vanderbilt’s child gender transition program and ban the practice in the state.”
Vanderbilt physicians called trans surgeries ‘huge moneymakers’
The comments in question were made by two faculty members, including Dr. Shayne Taylor, a university professor and a physician at the Vanderbilt Clinic for Transgender Health, as part of the Nashville school’s Medicine Grant Rounds lectures from 2018-2019.
In the video, Taylor called transgender surgeries “huge moneymakers.”
“Female-to-male chest reconstruction can bring in $40,000,” Taylor says at one point. “It actually makes money for the hospital.”
Speaking of female-to-male “bottom surgeries,” Taylor says they are “huge moneymakers” and cost up to $100,000.
Other faculty members in the video said that for doctors who object to performing such procedures out of their religious beliefs or convictions will “have to realize that that is problematic.”
Law professor Dr. Ellen Clayton said that even if the university may have to accommodate doctors’ religious beliefs, “saying that you’re not going to do something because of your religious beliefs is not without consequence.”
Following the videos going viral on Twitter, the hospital issued a statement saying the comments “misrepresent[ed] facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients.”
“VUMC requires parental consent to treat a minor patient who is to be seen for issues related to transgender care, and never refuses parental involvement in the care of transgender youth who are under age 18,” the statement added.
The hospital was not immediately available for a comment when CNA reached out Friday evening.
CNA reporter Joe Bukuras contributed to this story.