NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is responding to the claims made on social media by Matt Walsh, a conservative commentator and columnist for The Daily Wire.
"They now castrate, sterilize, and mutilate minors as well as adults, while apparently taking steps to hide this activity from the public view," Walsh claimed.
In a statement, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center says they began their Transgender Health Clinic because "transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently underserved by the U.S. health system."
VUMC said they require parental consent to treat minors who are being seen for issues to those receiving transgender care and never refuse parental involvement for those under 18.
"We have been and will continue to be committed to providing family-centered care to all adolescents in compliance with state law and in line with professional practice standards and guidance established by medical specialty societies," they said in the statement.
They added that their policies allow employees to decline to participate in care they find morally objectionable.
They also do not permit discrimination against employees who choose to do so.
"This includes employees whose personal or religious beliefs do not support gender-affirming care for transgender persons," Vanderbilt continued.
"The Trans Buddy program mentioned in the video has received national acclaim. Its purpose is to provide peer volunteers who support persons who are seeking highly personal care in an unfamiliar environment, and who may have been refused medical services in the past or avoided seeking them out of fear of being met with hostility," said Vanderbilt Medical.
In one of Walsh's tweets, he indicated that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is calling for an investigation into Vanderbilt.
Lee's office confirmed an ongoing investigation.
“The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns. We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation," a statement from the governor's office says.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said his office also confirmed an investigation.
"We are aware of allegations of illegal conduct at the Clinic for Transgender Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. General Skrmetti will use the full scope of his authority to ensure compliance with Tennessee law," the attorney general said.
Researchers with The Journal of the American Medical Association found in a recent study that gender-affirming care for trans youth aged 13-20 years old is associated with 60% lower odds of moderate or severe depression and 73% lower odds of suicidality over a 12-month follow-up period. This care includes puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones.
This story was originally reported by Kelly Broderick on newschannel5.com.