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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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Rep. Scanlon Defends Sex-Change Procedures for Minors During Tense Committee Hearing

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) used her position on a key House committee to promote so-called “gender-affirming care” for minors, dismissing testimony from opponents as “far-right ideology.”

Scanlon’s passionate defense came during a recent meeting of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government featuring testimony from de-transitioner Chloe Cole, who calls herself a “victim of ‘gender-affirming care” (GAC). Swimmer Paula Scanlan, a University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team member who was forced to compete with biological male Lia Thomas, also spoke about her experience.

Scanlon rejected any criticism of GAC.

“Make no mistake, today’s hearing is not about protecting children’s or parents’ rights. It is a cynical and dangerous political attack on transgender children and their families. It is not driven by science or facts, but by polling and political strategists determined to mobilize conservative voters through fear,” Scanlon said in her opening statement.

GAC doesn’t have a uniform medical definition and can be used to describe treatments ranging from social affirmation to hormone administration/puberty blocking to mutilating surgeries such as mastectomies for teenagers.

The New York Times reported, “The treatments are relatively new, and few studies have tracked their long-term effects.” The available data have raised so many questions about the treatment that the American Academy of Pediatrics has “commissioned a fresh look at the evidence,” according to the Times.

Cole, who spoke at a No Left Turn in Education event in Huntingdon Valley in March, told her story to the committee on her 19th birthday.

Cole said she began experiencing gender dysphoria when she was 12, and her parents took her to doctors who advised hormones and puberty blockers. The medical professionals convinced her parents by asking them, “Would you rather have a dead daughter or a trans son?” Cole said.

“We became victims of gender-affirming care,” said Cole, whose breasts were removed at 15. By 16, she realized she had made a horrible mistake and wanted to be female. The medical professionals, who she is now suing, preyed on “an insecure teenage girl,” said Cole. She had thoughts of suicide after her surgery, not before.

“We need to stop telling 12-year-olds they were born in the wrong body,” said Cole. And “gender-affirming care” is a medical scandal.

Swimmer Paula Scanlan said that as a victim of sexual assault, having a “6-foot-4-inch tall biological male, fully intact with male genitalia” in the women’s locker room was extremely disturbing. University officials refused to listen to the women swimmers’ complaints and offered them “counseling” instead. The university said, “We, the women were the problem, not the victims. We were expected to conform, to move over and shut up.”

She expressed her concerns in an op-ed in The Daily Pennsylvanian, only to have it removed hours later, a violation of her First Amendment rights, she said.

Scanlan also noted that men are biologically stronger and are taking wins from women athletes.

“This is real,” said Scanlan. “I know women who lost roster spots and spots on the podium.”

“The University of Pennsylvania nominated (transgender swimmer) Lia Thomas as NCAA Woman of the Year. I find that very offensive,” she added.

Jennifer Baulwens, Ph.D. director of the Center for Family Studies with Family Research Council, told the committee several other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Finland, and Sweden, no longer allow surgeries and therapies to change children’s gender. She said 85 percent of cases of sexual dysphoria resolve by themselves if “left alone.” And 45 percent of those claiming to be transgender had previously experienced sexual abuse. As for the “suicidal claim,” it is “not supported by the literature.” Instead, a 10-year Swedish study showed a  suicide rate 19 times higher than the general population after transition and that people may not regret it for five or more years.

In her opening statement, Scanlon said that “parents have the ultimate right” over their children’s healthcare.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) suggested they write a bipartisan bill affirming that children cannot undergo transgender medical care without the “informed consent” of their parents. He noted that some states, including California and Washington, now disregard parents’ opposition to that care and step in to have minors undergo it without parental permission.

But Scanlon backed off.

“I think you’re mischaracterizing the complete agreement,” she said.

McClintock said, “I thought we had arrived at that agreement until it comes down to doing it. Then you seem to have a change of heart.”

A parent of a transgender teenager and an LGBTQ-plus advocate testified that “gender-affirming” is necessary and is the medical standard in the U.S. Opposition witnesses swayed neither Democrat nor Republican committee members.

Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas), the father of two daughters, talked about substituting children’s judgment for parents, using a food pyramid with only ice cream as a food choice.

“This is ridiculous. I don’t care what party you’re a part of. If you think we’re all equally the same biologically, you literally lost your mind.

“And when my two daughters work hard in a sport, work hard in their craft to be the best that they can be amongst other women, they will compete against other women. I owe Victoria and Olivia and every other young lady in this country that.”

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‘There is No Research’: Speakers Decry ‘Dangerous’ Transgender Trend for Children

A panel of activists on Saturday warned against the growing trend of transgender-style medical procedures being performed on minors in the U.S.—a forum that was so controversial that event planners originally did not reveal its location to attendees until just 48 hours before it occurred.

At the event, sponsored by the conservative group No Left Turn in Education, speaker Chloe Cole, 18, told of starting the medical “transition” from a girl to a boy at 13 and of having her breasts removed at 15, only to realize at 16 that she had made a mistake.

Cole, who in recent months has appeared at multiple events and protests around the country sharing her story, told attendees that she started “transitioning” in public around age 12, wearing boys’ clothing and cutting her hair short.

At 13, doctors put her on puberty blockers and testosterone. At 15, she said she had the mastectomy procedure. A year later she realized she was a in fact a girl and wanted to “de-transition.”

Cole recently sued the doctors and hospitals that treated her. She still has problems from the treatment, including skin grafts on her chest that haven’t healed properly, she said. Her growth has also been stunted.

Forensic nurse Tammy Hartlaub also spoke to the group about the dangers of transgender surgery and medications given to children to attempt to switch them from one sex to another.

She noted the brain’s frontal lobe, which controls judgment, is the last part to mature when people are in their 20s. And the drugs used to block puberty “have significant side effects in adults.”

As to their long-term effects on children and teenagers: “We don’t know,” Hartlaub said. “There is no research.”

Elana Fishbein, Ph.D. founder of No Left Turn in Education

About 100 people came to the event.

The forum itself almost did not happen. Its location was kept a secret until just two days before it was scheduled. During a radio interview on the Dom Giordano Show on Friday, it was revealed it would be held at the Sheraton Great Valley in Frazer. The hotel reportedly began getting threatening phone calls. By 5 p.m. the event was canceled.

The radio station employee who accidentally gave the location on the air called the Rev. William Devlin of Widows and Orphans to see if he might know another meeting venue. Devlin contacted Pastor William Covelens of New Life Community Church in the village of Huntingdon Valley, who said was willing to host the panel discussion.

Stressing the growing spread of transgender ideology throughout the country, No Left Turn founder Elana Fishbein noted there are now at least 100 clinics nationwide that perform transgender surgery.

“In the last five years, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of minors who report some distress about their sex and the perception of their gender,” said Fishbein. “For minors between ages 6 and 17 between 2017 and 2020, there was an annual increase of 20 percent. Between 2020 and 2021, there was an 80 percent increase.”

“This is a substantial increase,” she said. “This is not just minor.”

At the event on Saturday, speaker Sara Higdon warned against transgender activists who seek to target children for ideological exploitation.

“They simply believe there is no such thing as absolute truth,” said Higdon, a spokesperson for the group Trans Against Groomers. Higdon was born a male but now identifies as a woman.

Higdon indicated that there are considerable social justice incentives for men to begin identifying as women. “What way can an oppressor maybe become part of an oppressed class? They can transition,” said Higdon.

“And there are (upper-middle-class White) parents who think if they have a trans child they can say, ‘Look what a good parent I am.’

“And there’s a lot of eugenics at play,” Higdon added. “You are sterilizing an entire group of people. …They want to make your kids wards of the state. You can’t usher in Marxism without kids being wards of the state.”

Multiple school districts in Pennsylvania, including many in the Delaware Valley, are teaching the educational doctrine known as “Queer Theory,” deploying curriculum on gender for students as young as kindergarten.

Some districts, including the Great Valley School District, also tell teachers to hide from parents any information related to their children’s claims about transgender identities.

Though Higdon claims to have discovered an internal transgender identity at a young age, the speaker nevertheless criticized and dismissed major popular assertions about gender ideology at it applies to children.

“No child is born in the wrong body,” Higdon said, “It’s not the body that’s wrong. It’s the mind that’s wrong. My gender dysphoria went all the way to adulthood. At the age of 28, I had to tell somebody.”

Cole said that doctors “failed to address the fact that I might have had underlying issues” connected to identifying as a woman.

Cole said she “wasn’t forced into transition by my parents,” as critics often accuse some parents of doing. They took her to a therapist, she said, who allegedly told her parents that she would commit suicide if she wasn’t allowed to begin identifying as a boy. “[It] wasn’t true,” she said.

Cole said social media also played a large role in transmitting transgender ideology to her at a young age, particularly after she got her first mobile phone that allowed her unrestricted access to the Internet.

“I felt I would be better off as a boy,” she said.

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