Critics are Deficient in Understanding Military Transgender Polic

Critics are Deficient in Understanding Military Transgender Policy

April 15, 2019

The Pentagon's implementation on Friday of a new policy restricting military service by those who identify as transgender continues to draw criticism. But the reality is most of the critics have made little effort to accurately understand it. This is true even of groups presenting themselves as experts -- like the American Medical Association. The AMA was quoted last week criticizing the Pentagon document to implement the policy for using the word "deficiencies" in explaining when transgender service members may be separated from the military. AMA president Dr. Barbara L. McAneny told the Associated Press, "The only thing deficient is any medical science behind this decision."

The problem is, the Pentagon did not apply the word "deficiencies" to any individual's transgender status, or even to a diagnosis of "gender dysphoria." The word referred quite explicitly to a "failure to adhere to . . . standards" -- namely, "the standards associated with his or her biological sex." In other words, it refers to "deficiencies" in a service member's conduct, not their physical or psychological state.

People who simply identify with a gender different from their biological sex are not automatically excluded from the military under the Trump policy. However, "gender dysphoria" is a specific medical diagnosis, and it is associated with significant mental health problems, as the AMA should know. The Pentagon's Report and Recommendations last year found, "Service members with gender dysphoria are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than Service members as a whole . . ." and "nine times more likely to have mental health encounters."

Meanwhile, the medical procedures often associated with a "gender transition" -- hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery -- threaten military readiness because they limit the deployability of the service member. The Pentagon found that "transitioning Service members in the Army and Air Force have averaged 167 and 159 days of limited duty, respectively, over a one-year period." They also found that "the medical costs for Service members with gender dysphoria have increased nearly three times -- or 300 percent -- compared to Service member without gender dysphoria."

In addition, within the military there are "sex-based standards . . . based on legitimate biological differences between males and females." For example, allowing a biological male who still has male anatomy but identifies as female to use female "berthing, bathroom, and shower facilities" undermines the "reasonable expectations of privacy" of biological females. Allowing a biological male who identifies as female to meet female physical fitness standards and compete in athletics with biological females is unfair both to females and males. See FRC's Issue Analysis for a more detailed summary of the policy's justifications.

As a recent DoD summary made clear, it was actually the Obama policy that was "discriminatory" -- because it exempted transgender persons from standards that apply to others with similar mental and physical conditions. President Trump deserves credit for taking a fresh look at this issue and returning to a rational policy based upon what is best for the military, rather than just accepting his predecessor's unilateral, eleventh hour policy that was motivated not by military readiness, but political correctness.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tarheels Taking Strides for Life Legislation

April 15, 2019

While House Democrats are busy blocking sensible, humane legislation like the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (they have now refused to consider this measure 32 times), they are motivating states like North Carolina to counter their callousness by taking a stand and attempting to protect babies born alive after a failed abortion attempt.

This week, two born-alive protection bills are moving in the North Carolina General Assembly. In the state Senate, SB 359 is set for a floor vote this Monday night, while HB 602 is currently before the House Rules Committee.

These two bills are identical and would require that babies who are born alive after a failed abortion receive the same level of care "as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age," and that these babies be "immediately transported and admitted to a hospital."

It is incredible to think that we have to clarify what should be understood as human decency, but unfortunately, now we do. We not only have to specify this type of decency, but we also need accountability for failing to comply with it. These two pro-life bills would accomplish exactly that; in other words, they have some teeth! As our friends at the North Carolina Family Policy Council explain, "[f]ailure to comply with the provisions above would subject the practitioner to possible criminal and civil penalties. Additionally, these bills would establish a new murder charge for any person who performs or attempts to perform 'an overt act that kills a child born alive.'"

The N.C. Family Policy Council has been diligently working on this issue, and it is encouraging to see headway in the state of North Carolina despite the moral numbness Capitol Hill Democrats show toward protecting such babies. As the group's president John Rustin said, "[w]e applaud the members of N.C. General Assembly who support these critical life saving measures...These bills are not about abortion, but are about recognizing, honoring and caring for the lives of newborn babies who are born alive. Suggesting anything less is barbaric, inhumane and indefensible!"

I agree. At nine months, on the day of a baby's birth, here's what should happen: the baby should be wrapped in a blanket and a warm, tiny hat placed on their head. This is what a newborn should be met with. Not death.

As North Carolina is racing to the finish line to secure protections for these babies, you can remind Nancy Pelosi what every baby deserves on their first day in the world by sending her a baby hat through our "End Birth Day Abortion" campaign. In return, you will receive a certificate that will remind you to pray for born alive babies who are facing the danger of being killed outside the womb, as well as for the U.S. Congress to take decisive action on this issue.

If this bill passes the General Assembly, it will then go to N.C. Governor Roy Cooper (D) and we will see if he will stand for life, or for his party.

So far twenty-nine states currently have some form of born-alive protection.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Up Next for the FRC Speaker Series

April 15, 2019

Over the years, FRC has been privileged to host speakers from around the nation and the world to help illuminate you on what's happening when faith, family, and freedom intersects with culture and public policy. In the coming weeks, we have two very special Speaker Series events that you'll want to put on your calendar.

On Tuesday, April 30, I'll host U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) at FRC headquarters for a discussion on religious liberty. Graham has long been a leading voice for religious freedom both domestically and internationally. He is the new Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Most religious liberty legislation and court nominees, who are vital to protecting religious freedom, come through the Judiciary Committee. Graham will be discussing his work in his new role as Judiciary Chairman and what Congress is doing to promote religious liberty. He'll also be addressing religious freedom internationally. As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Senator Graham is acutely aware of the numerous religious liberty concerns around the world.

Before that, on April 25, Professor Lynne Marie Kohm from Regent University School of Law will join us at FRC to discuss The Attack on Parental Rights and the Constitution. Parents across America are fighting for the lives of their children and losing. Doctors, judges, and hospitals are ignoring parental decisions for their children in myriad situations which have created some major lawsuits around the globe. Professor Kohm puts forward the notion that an international children's rights framework pulls kids away from parental protection to instead be guarded by the state. That result is failing children and their parents all around the world, and even here in the United States. At the same time, the notion that the State can protect the child by affording children rights rather than supporting and upholding parental protection of that child's best interests is a destructive international law value that seeps into American court decisions to allow hospitals, doctors, and judges to prevail over parents, which breaks down parental rights protections guarded by the U. S. Constitution. This presentation will discuss the preservation of parental rights and provide valuable insight on what concerned Americans can do to fight back against government erosion of those cherished rights.

Check out our events page for more on these and other Speaker Series events.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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