Vanderbilt hospital agrees to pause gender-affirming surgery on minors, officials say

Outside of Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Outside of Vanderbilt University Medical Center(Mark Humphrey)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 3:49 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Vanderbilt University Medical Center has agreed to pause gender-affirming surgery on transgender youth following backlash from conservative commentators and politicians, according to state leaders.

“VUMC has agreed to pause gender transition surgeries on minors, as well as honor religious objectors,” State Representative Jason Zachary tweeted Friday afternoon.

“We are so pleased to hear that VUMC has made the right decision and has paused all surgeries for adolescents at their Pediatric Transgender Clinic,” Senator Marsha Blackburn added.

This decision to pause the surgeries comes after Vanderbilt University Medical Center came under fire on social media and in the political arena after a conservative commentator made disputed claims regarding its transgender health clinic.

Matt Walsh, a columnist with the Daily Wire, tweeted last month the clinic “chemically castrates minors,” as well as other claims hospital administrators said are false.

“(VUMC) is now the subject of social media posts and a video that misrepresent facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients,” a VUMC statement said last month. “VUMC began its 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.”

VUMC said it 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,” according to the statement.

In a letter regarding their decision to pause the surgeries, VUMC said since 2018, an average of five minors per years have received gender-affirming surgical procedures, but none of them had “genital procedures.” All minors had parental consent and were at least 16 years old, VUMC said.

Last month, Gov. Bill Lee said the transgender health clinic needed to be investigated.

“The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns,” Lee said in the statement. “We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation.”

This is a developing story. Read the full letter below.