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Democrat AGs Say Lincoln Would Have Wanted VA To Pay For Veterans’ Transgender Surgeries

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Nineteen Democratic attorneys general are advocating for the Department of Veterans Affairs to cover costly genital surgeries for transgender-identifying veterans, citing Abraham Lincoln’s promise to care for those who served in the military.

They argue that denying such surgeries contradicts the VA’s mission and leaves transgender veterans without necessary healthcare.

These officials, representing 18 states and Washington, D.C., filed an amicus brief in support of the Transgender American Veterans Association, emphasizing the life-saving and medically necessary nature of these procedures.

The attorney generals wrote, “The mission of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is to fulfill President Abraham Lincoln’s simple promise: ‘to care for those who have served in our nation’s military and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.’”

“Taken together, the regulation and implementing directive render President Lincoln’s promise an empty one for many transgender veterans. Although the VA recognizes the existence of transgender veterans, the VA falls short of serving and caring for all veterans when it prevents transgender veterans from accessing medically necessary and potentially life-saving treatment,” they continued.

“Transgender veterans with gender dysphoria are left without life-saving healthcare, and are vulnerable to physical suffering, depression, and suicidal ideation,” wrote the attorneys.

“Further, the VA’s approach stands in tension with the experience of the amici States – which have found giving transgender people access to comprehensive healthcare, including medically necessary surgery – provides significant benefits at negligible costs,” concluded the attorneys.

They also point out that the VA currently covers cross-sex hormones, hair removal, and voice training, but has yet to start covering genital and breast surgeries.

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