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New Report Shows PA Spent $20 Million on Transgender Care for Minors

A new report from the PA Family Institute says the state has spent more than $20 million on “gender-affirming” care, including transgender surgeries and services for minors.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is among the recipients of state funding for those services for children whose families couldn’t afford the controversial treatment. A spokesperson for CHOP did not comment when asked about the hospital’s program.

The nonprofit Family Institute obtained the information from right-to-know requests revealing how much the taxpayer-funded health program paid for puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and gender-related surgeries for children and teens 18 years and younger.

“This shocking report reveals Pennsylvania taxpayers are being forced to fund harmful drugs and surgeries on children, sending millions of dollars every year to carry out detrimental and irreversible procedures upon minors,” said PA Family Institute President Michael Geer.

Dan Bartkowiak, director of communications for PA Family Insitute, said the state spent $5 million in 2022 and is on track to spend even more in 2023. That $5 million works out to nearly $14,000 per day for sex reassignment and transition-related treatment for children. That is 80 times higher than the $60,600 spent in 2015.

Bartkowiak called the expenditure “staggering.”

And while doctors take an oath to do no harm, many surgeries and treatments can leave patients with lifelong health problems.

“There are a lot of detrimental impacts,” said Bartkowiak, who also noted the procedures financially benefit hospitals and doctors.

“These surgeries make a lot of money. So, female-to-male chest reconstruction can bring in $40,000. A patient just on routine hormone treatment who I’m only seeing a few times a year can bring in several thousand dollars… It actually makes money for the hospital,” Dr. Shayne Taylor with the Vanderbilt Clinic for Transgender Health is quoted as saying in PA Family’s press release.

Chloe Cole spoke at No Left Turn in Education hosted in March. Cole had gender dysphoria and thought at 12 years old that she wanted to be a boy. The medical profession helped her change her gender and convinced her parents they should agree to it. Doctors then removed her breasts at 15. By the time she turned 18, Cole realized she had made a terrible mistake and wanted to be the gender she was born: Female.

However, she continues to have problems, including skin grafts to her chest that have not properly healed and stunted growth.

Cole is suing the doctors and hospital who treated her but noted she would never get her natural breasts back or be able to breastfeed if she has children, which is uncertain given the hormone blockers she had taken.

Bartkowiak said the state began funding gender treatment in 2015 for children under Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman who was health secretary for Pennsylvania and is now U.S. assistant secretary for health.

Asked why the treatment has increased yearly, Bartkowiak said, “There’s a lot of money to be made.”

There is also a push in schools and social media to “immediately do something” if a child is questioning gender, he said, rather than treating them for mental illness (gender dysphoria) or waiting to see if they will outgrow the phase.

CHOP also sends representatives to schools to talk to teachers and counselors, advising them not to let parents know when their children are questioning their gender, the report noted.

While supporters argue that if children are not “affirmed” in their gender choices, they are at risk for suicide, Bartkowiak said that is not “backed by the data” and that people who have undergone these treatments have “a significant suicide rate.”

Along with CHOP, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Penn State Health Children’s Hospital perform these surgeries and receive state funds.

Charlie O’Neill, a spokesman for state Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), who chairs the House appropriations committee, said funding for CHIP is part of the Human Services Department and not a separate line item. CHIP follows the World Professional Association for Transgender Health standard of care guidelines in determining coverage.

A few years ago, a bill by state Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Fulton) that would have prevented CHIP from covering “gender-affirming” care failed to gain traction.

Geer said, “This is state-sponsored child mutilation that taxpayers are being forced to fund. Not one penny of funding should be used to advance this type of harmful activity.”

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State Funding for Gender-Changing Surgery for Children Is on the Ballot

Pennsylvania taxpayers have paid nearly $17 million since Gov. Tom Wolf (D) took office to fund sex reassignment surgery and other services for minor children — some as young as 14 — and without any legislative approval.

That was the finding of a report from the Pennsylvania Family Institute, a pro-family nonprofit that documented the cash flow through information obtained via right-to-know requests.

“This level of state-endorsed harm upon children is reprehensible,” said Alexis Sneller with the group. “While we knew the Wolf administration was funding services related to these irreversible procedures on minors, now seeing the exact numbers — millions spent towards these detrimental acts — is still shocking.”

Pennsylvania Family Institute researcher Dan Bartkowiak told Delaware Valley Journal the state legislature did not approve those expenditures. Wolf signed an executive order, likely at the behest of former Health Secretary Rachel Levine, a transgender woman. Money from the state began to flow for the treatments in 2015 and in 2016 officials added federal Medicaid funds.

“The administration made it a priority,” said Bartkowiak. Money from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides healthcare for low-income children, was used. And the state government worked with gender clinics, such as the one at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), to pay for youngsters to transition, including for surgery, he said.

Many people assume that the funding is for adults, but “this is for kids,” he said. “These are children.”

The co-founder of the CHOP gender program, Nadia Dowsha, testified before the state House Health Committee that surgery, including the removal of healthy breasts, is performed on children as young as 14.

“It’s disgusting,” Bartkowiak said. “This should not be taking place.”

Regarding  the state paying for sex change surgery,  a spokesperson for Wolf said, “Pennsylvania should not discriminate against any individual based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.”

There has been a 5000 percent increase in the funding for transgender services for children since 2015.

Bruce Chambers, former president of the Great Valley School Board in Chester County, said the impetus for kids to change their gender starts in the schools.

“While it may be shocking to some that tax dollars are being spent on children’s sex reassignment surgeries and procedures, what many don’t realize is that Pennsylvania school districts are actually grooming children to pursue gender non-conforming behavior and sex reassignment,” said Chambers.

“Many school districts, such as Great Valley, have secret meetings with students who may show gender non-conforming behavior. No one knows what happens in these meetings, and the school district staff is directed to use the student’s gender preference and name change and are ordered to hide all this information from the parents.

“So the parents don’t know anything, and no one knows what the school counselors are advising the students. This is just one aspect of how the school districts encourage gender non-conforming behavior, which can lead to the next step of sex reassignment procedures and surgery. So, our Pennsylvania government not only uses tax dollars for paying for the sex change medical procedures, but they are using our tax dollars in the school districts to groom the students toward considering these procedures,” Chambers said.

Bartkowiak said he hopes voters will use this information as part of their process of choosing candidates on Tuesday.

“It’s on the ballot. It depends on who is in the governor’s office.”

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor, opposes using state funds to pay for gender transition treatment and surgeries.

“Democrats such as AG Shapiro don’t just want to indoctrinate our children. They are also forcing Pennsylvania parents to bankroll their extremism,” said Mastriano.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro did not respond to a request for comment.

However, as attorney general, he signed an amicus brief in support of “transgender rights” to allow biological boys to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms in Virginia. He also opposed a Pennsylvania bill, vetoed by Wolf which would have prevented biological males from competing in girls’ sports.

Meanwhile, the money goes out. “This year, it is going to be over $4 million (going toward transition services for children),” Bartkowiak said.

Chambers said he believes the real number is even higher.

“If you calculated the money spent in all the Pennsylvania school districts on gender non-conforming ‘programs,’ I am confident that dollar amount would exceed the $16.7 million spent on the medical procedures found by the Pennsylvania Family Institute.”

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