House to vote on denying gender-changing treatment coverage to transgender troops

The House will vote Thursday on a bill that would deny transgendered military personnel medical coverage for hormone and gender-reassignment therapies.
By Linda Mack | Jul 17, 2017
The House will vote Thursday on a bill that would deny transgendered military personnel medical coverage for hormone and gender-reassignment therapies. If it becomes law, transgendered service members and transgendered spouses or children of service members will no longer have access to any gender-related medical care except mental health therapy.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler introduced the amendment as part of the 2018 defense-authorization bill that allocates $697 billion in annual funding to the Pentagon. The House Rules Committee met Wednesday night to review it and numerous other amendments to the defense-authorization bill. The committee never voted on Hartzler's amendment, but GOP leaders made sure that the measure would get floor consideration.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chair of the Rules Committee, also backed Hartzler's amendment. He said during committee proceedings that gender-reassignment surgery "is seen as elected surgery."
But major medical groups contend that these procedures are sometimes medically necessary for transgendered persons. The amendment was also condemned by Stephen Peters, a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson and a former Marine veteran whom the Marine Corps had discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"Rep. Hartzler's attack on active duty troops and their families is unconscionable. It puts (service members') health at risk and undermines military readiness by stripping away the ability of medical professionals to ensure their patients have the care they need and deserve," Peters said. "It is imperative that the House of Representatives reject this harmful amendment."
There was also committee dissent from Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who is gay and co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. Polis put forth an amendment to strike Hartzler's amendment from the bill, but the committee voted his measure down 8-2.

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