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Lawmakers clashed over the safety of gender-affirming care in minors on Thursday, during a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government.

Republicans condemned the practice, which they characterized as “mutilation,” while Democrats argued such care is safe and effective, citing the support of multiple medical groups.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) kicked off the contentious hearing with a video clip of a surgeon describing performing vaginoplasties and phalloplasties. “This is the mutilation of children, and it should be prohibited by our law,” Johnson said.

Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) likened gender-affirming care to the Tuskegee experiment, adding that “it causes irreversible sterilization and serious long-term medical complications and long-term reliance on pharmaceuticals.”

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), ranking member of the subcommittee, countered Republican arguments by stating that gender-affirming care is “safe and effective” and “essential to the mental health and well-being of trans youth.”

“The idea that politicians are more qualified to judge the medical value or necessity of gender-affirming care than every major medical organization is absurd,” she said, noting that such care is supported by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Scanlon also chastised Republicans for “repeating right-wing talking points to de-legitimize critical healthcare.”

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