On Wednesday, May 5th, 2022, during the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing about the President’s FY23 Health and Human Services Budget request, Senator Braun (R-IN) used his time to question Secretary Becerra about gender-affirming care, “a subject that is really creating controversy around the country.” Senator Braun stated that in his opinion, there isn’t sufficient evidence to back up procedures, such as puberty-blocking medication and surgeries for adolescents, and that the consequences of these treatments can be tragic or even “grotesque.”

Secretary Becerra clarified that these procedures have long been examined and supported by medical experts. He reaffirmed HHS’s commitment to promoting life-saving medical care and protecting the rights of children and families to make medical decisions in consultation with their doctors and providers. Secretary Becerra noted that many transgender teenagers have died by suicide, arguing that gender-affirming care can help prevent such tragic losses.

Senator Braun closed by asking if HHS should remove guidance related to gender-affirming care from their website until there could be more research and discussion; the guidance referenced may have been this fact sheet, published in March. Secretary Becerra answered this request by reiterating that HHS will continue to follow the guidance of medical experts in the area.