July 10, 2017 at 10:16 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Rep. Hartzler seeks to bar transgender health care in U.S. military
Vicky Hartzler, gay news, Washington Blade

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) proposed an amendment barring funds for transition-related care in the U.S. military. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

On the heels of her tirade in committee over allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) has proposed an amendment that would bar the Defense Department from providing transition-related care for troops.

The amendment was among the many submitted to the House Rules Committee by the Friday deadline in anticipation of a floor vote on major defense policy legislation for fiscal year 2018. The committee is set to meet this week to review and accept amendments ahead of the vote on the $697 billion bill.

Hartzler’s amendment would add a section to U.S. code for the military’s health care system barring funds for treatment — other than mental health treatment — related to gender transition. That would mean transition care like hormone therapy and gender reassignment would be off limits to transgender troops.

A similar amendment proposed by anti-LGBT Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is on the list of proposed amendments for the defense authorization bill, but the House Rules Committee website designates the proposal as withdrawn. Presumably, the lawmakers believed it was too similar to the Hartzler amendment to warrant consideration.

It remains to be seen whether the House Rules Committee, which is heavily stacked 11-4 in favor of Republicans, will approve Hartzler’s amendment for consideration. If the amendment is accepted, it would be the first time the U.S. House floor has considered an amendment against transgender rights.

Hartzler proposed the amendment after railing last week during the House Armed Services Committee markup of the defense authorization bill against transgender military service, calling it “ill-conceived.”

The Missouri Republican proposed — then withdrew without a vote — an amendment barring transgender people from serving in the armed forces, but threatened to reintroduce it if the Pentagon didn’t reverse the Obama-era policy change in favor of openly transgender service.

Shortly afterward, the Pentagon announced it would delay a plan to allow openly transgender people to enlist in the armed forces by July 1 for another six months, although the policy barring the military from kicking them out remains in place. Hartzler introduced her amendment despite the rollback, although it seems less ambitious than her threat during committee.

During the committee markup, Hartzler cited a dubious figure that paying for gender reassignment surgery for U.S. troops would cost $1.35 billion over the next 10 years with only 30 percent of individuals electing to transition. That figure is significantly higher than the RAND Corp.’s estimate that those surgeries consume between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually out of the Pentagon’s multi-billion dollar budget.

It’s unclear where Hartzler came up with her figure. Hartlzer told USA Today she believes the RAND Corp. study was “flawed” and reportedly said her staff came up with its own figure using research from other sources.

Another amendment submitted to the Rules Committee by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) would express the sense of Congress LGBT service members, including transgender personnel, should “be commended for their service to the United States.” The Republican-controlled Rules Committee is unlikely to move the amendment.

h/t The Hill

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Maybe Congress and the miiltary should stop these surgical procedures. Service member Rowan Elijah Feldhaus has already died at a military medical facility while undergoing a hysterectomy recently that friends claim was part of his gender transition.

    RAND has reported that there’s a 20% complication rate for transgender women undergoing bottom surgeries. Should the military and VA be saddled with disability claims for when these surgeries go wrong? I don’t think they should. Nor should the taxpayer.

    Because that’s exactly what’s going to happen. And getting the military into the trans surgery business does nothing for force readiness. It just removes people from the fight for months at a time at best. Forever at worst.

    • By your logic, military medical facilities should stop performing Hysterectomies. This would affect not only the women serving on Active Duty, but, military dependents who rate the same care as well. The reality is that this procedure is performed countless times annually at U.S. Military facilities world wide with little or no complications. A Hysterectomy performed on a female to male transgender patient is no different than on any female.
      Since you specifically mentioned Rowan’s case it would have been only proper for you to tell the full story; in that his surgery was required as he had poly cystic ovary syndrome. Rowan required the surgery be performed regardless of his gender status. It was not the surgery that killed him it was the septicemia that occurred post surgery which resulted in his death. Complications may occur during even the most minor of surgeries.

      • What kind of spin do you want to put on these six surgeries that went wrong on trans men?

        Here’s the link, with the case numbers to the lawsuits.


        Neither of you answered the question?

        Is the military paying disability for maiming previously healthy bodies?

        • No spin here. Read your article and many of the case filings it listed. It does not apply and is not germane to this topic. This was the work of one civilian surgeon, and none of patients were military personnel. The cases cited in your linked article were gender affirming surgeries which are classified as plastic surgery procedures. Regrettably botched plastic surgery procedures are not rare.
          Rowan’s procedure was NOT one of these if was a medically necessary Hysterectomy. The fact that he was a Trans man had nothing to do with his poly cystic ovary syndrome.

          To answer your question; if a military service-person becomes permanently disabled while on active duty and the cause is not related to that service-person’s personal misconduct, they typically receive a disability pension which is based on the percent of their disability.
          At this point only a handful of active duty transgender soldiers, sailors, air persons, and Marines have come out. A very small percentage of those have applied for Gender Affirming Surgery. None have publicly reported complications from the procedures.

      • Don’t bother, Selah. C2016 is a TERF; engagement just gives them a platform.

    • RAND is NOT a health care organization. 97% of transgender patients who undergo GRS live happier, healthier lives. Maybe you would just rather they become part of the 41% who commit suicide because they cannot get gender dysphoria treated.

      • You played the suicide card already?

        News flash: They don’t allow suicidal people to run around in the military with loaded weapons.

        The person needs to get discharged instead of the weapon.

  • I want her to clarify, Is she attacking V.A. Health care as well?

  • like many she can be voted out

  • taxpayers should not have to pay for their health either, if that`s the case, they can afford to pay for their own

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