At a townhall on LGBTQ issues held by CNN on Thursday, Elizabeth Warren “corrected” a previous position she held against taxpayer money going towards “gender transition” surgeries for transgender prison inmates.
In 2012, Warren had said she didn’t think that funding transgender surgeries for criminals in jail was “a good use of taxpayer dollars.”
Asked about this now-controversial (to far-left Democrats) answer at the townhall, Warren reversed her position Thursday, claiming, “that was a bad answer…Everyone is entitled to medical care that they need.”
Watch the clip of Warren’s reversal of her 2012 position on taxpayer-funded transgender surgeries here:
Warren's 2012 statement expressing her disapproval of using taxpayer dollars for gender transition surgeries for prison inmates was made in response to a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Today, Warren's stance on taxpayer funded gender transition surgeries for prisoners has not only flip-flopped, but her plan to change this would overturn President Trump's policy that requires inmates to be housed according to their biological sex.
Warren posted this to Twitter following the LGBTQ townhall:
The Washington Examiner has more on Warren's policy regarding taxpayer-funded transgender surgeries for prisoners:
Elizabeth Warren said she was wrong not to support taxpayer-funded transition-related surgery for transgender inmates.
"I think that was a bad answer,” the senior senator for Massachusetts and top-tier 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said during a CNN town hall focused on gay and transgender issues. “Everyone is entitled to medical care that they need.”
In 2012, Warren said the procedure was not "a good use of taxpayer dollars" during her first bid for the Senate. A federal court at the time ordered Massachusetts to provide sex change surgery to Michelle Kosilek, a convicted murderer, in one of the state's prisons. Her campaign in January began walking back the senator's comment in a statement, saying she endorsed "medically necessary services, including transition-related surgeries."
Warren's remarks Thursday night follow the release of her gay and transgender rights plan. Her proposal includes ending solitary confinement, monitoring compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, prosecuting prison staff for misconduct, and offering sex change surgery, if deemed necessary.
Real Clear Politics gave more details:
Elizabeth Warren has a plan for everything, it seems, even for the regulations that govern the incarceration of transgender individuals in federal prison.
Ahead of a town hall on LGBTQ issues, the surging Democratic presidential candidate announced plans to abolish solitary confinement, end the policy of assigning prisoners to facilities based on their biological sex, and even spend taxpayer dollars on sex-reassignment surgery.
“I will direct the Bureau of Prisons to end the Trump Administration’s dangerous policy of imprisoning transgender people in facilities based on their sex assigned at birth and ensure that all facilities meet the needs of transgender people,” she writes on her campaign website, “including by providing medically necessary care, like transition-related surgeries, while incarcerated.”
The Warren plan would affect a prison population of just 473 self-identifying transgender offenders, a fraction of the 184,000 total federal inmates, according to most recent BOP numbers. All the same, the social justice overture could have a ripple effect.
While the Trump campaign doesn’t comment on every policy proposal released by each of the candidates lining up for a chance to challenge the president, it was quick to weigh in on this one. “Taxpayer support of this defies common sense,” Communications Director Tim Murtaugh told RealClearPolitics.
Before winning her first election, Warren may have agreed with Trump. Running for Senate in 2012, the then-Harvard law professor opposed a federal court order to grant a convicted murderer’s request for a sex-change operation. “I have to say,” she told a local radio station, “I don't think it's a good use of taxpayer dollars.”
The inmate never got the sex-reassignment surgery; an ensuing legal battle ended at the steps of the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. Meanwhile, Warren became a U.S. senator in a lopsided election, and a progressive star was born.
A spokeswoman for the Warren campaign declined to comment for this article.
The candidate’s current stance would reverse policy established by the Trump administration last year that requires inmates to be housed in federal prisons according to their biological sex. “The designation to a facility of the inmate’s identified gender would be appropriate only in rare cases,” updated guidance in the Transgender Offender Manual states.
Though Warren grew up in a conservative household and was a registered Republican before becoming a Democrat, the Massachusetts senator said that while she doesn’t “have notes from when I was a little kid,” she also doesn’t remember having a different position on same-sex marriage.
“I mean, to me it’s about what I learned in the church I grew up in,” she explained. “First song I ever remember singing is: ‘They are yellow, black and white. They are precious in his sight. Jesus loves all the children in the world.’”
“The hatefulness, frankly, always really shocked me, especially for people of faith because I think the whole foundation is the worth of every single human being,” she said. “And I get people may make decisions for themselves that are different than the decisions other people make, but by golly, those are decisions about you. They are not decisions that tell people what they can or cannot do.”
Warren said she regrets criticizing a judge’s ruling that granted transition-related surgery to a transgender inmate during her 2012 Senate campaign but failed to take a strong position on whether she believed crimes against transgender people should be charged as hate crimes.