GOP representatives on the newly-created Family Caucus accused Pentagon doctors of advocating for "chemical castration" of military-connected transgender minors in a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Monday.
"[W]e were shocked to read a report that the Department of Defense medical providers are advocating for 'puberty suppression and affirming hormones,' which amounts to chemical castration, for children as young as seven years old," Reps. Mary E. Miller (R-IL),Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) and Brian Babin (R-TX) said in their letter.
"If DOD advocates for the chemical castration of 7-year-old children to further a radical left-wing political agenda, we lose our moral standing in the world. The nations and people caught in the middle of the 21st Century struggle between American dominance or Chinese dominance will view us as morally lost," they added
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Proponents of the gender-affirming model state they are advocating for life-saving drugs to a population with a disproportionately high rate of suicide.
The letter follows another from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who said, "This radical ideology is harmful to children… There is almost no safety data associated with the use of these so-called treatments in minors."
Fox News Digital first reported several DoD providers said in the March edition of the American Journal of Public Health that the only pathway for children of military members who present with gender dysphoria symptoms is to immediately move towards "gender-affirming health care, such as puberty suppression and affirming hormones."
The doctors said that on the basis of "human rights," "youths… have an inherent ability and right to consent to gender-affirming therapy."
They went so far as to claim 7-year-olds can make their own medical decisions.
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The authors – David A. Klein, Thomas Baxter, Noelle S. Larson as well as clinical psychologist, Natasha A. Schvey, PhD – demanded the military train all of its providers on their ideas on gender medical interventions for minors, despite acknowledging that 53% of military-affiliated physicians in the Department of Defense health system indicated they would refuse to prescribe hormones regardless of any training.
Klein, Schvey and Baxter work at Travis Air Force Base in California, and Larson — a pediatric endocrinologist – works at the Department of Pediatrics at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Some of the authors work at Uniformed Services University – a military institution. The article recommended this institution take the lead in pushing forward trainings on "gender-affirming care" within the Pentagon health system.
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The GOP reps from the Family Caucus demanded to know whether taxpayer dollars were being used for gender-affirming medical interventions for minors.
"The Department of Defense will train its health care providers in keeping with current science and best medical evidence," the DoD responded.
The DoD also told Fox News Digital that it does not support rushing anyone into taking drugs and that medical decisions are made in consultation between a minor and their guardians.
The DoD providers proceeded to blast clinicians who pause before changing a minor's gender to see if they would grow out of the dysphoria, calling it "unethical."
"Some well-intentioned military-affiliated clinicians may not be aware that a ‘watchful waiting’ approach has a different risk profile than a gender-affirmative approach (which allows for gender identity exploration), and that ‘conversion therapy’ is unethical, harmful, and generally illegal," they said. "Patients may face ‘gatekeeping’ and major delays in care, including protracted and pathologizing psychiatric evaluations that question patient motives."
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The health providers demanded the DoD publicly declare that it supported a "gender-affirmative position" and convince military members about the "evidence-based medical care" of changing a minor's gender.
"This may lead to less resistance and politicization, which could work against the overarching goals," the DoD providers said.
They added that the Defense Health Agency should provide legal services to help skirt recent laws banning "gender-affirming care" for minors. Eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah – have passed laws or policies that restrict medical interventions to change a minor's gender.
In light of this, the DoD can consider the legal ramifications of telehealth option and help facilitate long-term puberty blocking implants for minors, they said.
"[A]n implantable puberty blocker, which is generally effective for at least two years, can be administered at a tertiary care military hospital, requiring only routine services easily accomplished in primary care overtime. This could be a temporizing measure prior to relocation," the doctors said.
The DoD should also provide legal services to health providers in states which have banned gender meds for minors, according to the providers.
"[DoD] clinicians… may be forced to choose between withholding… treatments to act in accordance with state law, and providing ethical and evidence-based treatment while facing legal or financial persecution, dishonorable military service, or allegations of child abuse," they said.
If those clinicians face criminal ramifications, "The DHA should also make a commitment to defending clinicians and families who render gender-affirming care to minors in accordance with DHA legal guidance from prosecution under state laws or policies that criminalize this care," the doctors said.
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The doctors further demanded the Department of Defense "leverage its robust, intact systems" to "sponsor research" on "military outcomes associated with access to timely gender-affirming care."
The doctors blasted states like Florida for restricting what is known as "gender-affirming care" for minors, claiming it "overstates uncertainties" that a child may later detransition, "exaggerates risks" of permanent side effects, "and falsely claims that medical standards authorize sterilization."
The article also said the skyrocketing increase in transgender-identifying youth was "due to increased awareness of the full range of gender identities, social acceptance, and improvements in medical care."
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.