Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said during an exchange with Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra that the effects of sex-change surgeries for children are “almost grotesque to mention.” He is undeniably correct, and it is equally grotesque that Becerra’s office is promoting them as “gender-affirming care.”

Braun asked Becerra during a committee hearing, “In what case would it be appropriate to perform irreversible sex-change surgery on kids?” HHS, under Becerra, lists “gender-affirming surgeries” as something that can be approved for adolescents (an age group that spans from 10-year-olds to 19-year-olds) on a case-by-case basis.

Becerra, though, thinks depriving children of these surgeries, or of puberty blockers and hormone treatments, is “life-affirming care” and “crucial.” According to Becerra, “If we can make a life better for someone in America, we should, especially if, in consultation with their physician, they approve of those procedures.”

But this is not life affirming by any description. Transgender people have 50% shorter lifespans and deal with a host of medical problems that come with physically and chemically altering their bodies to match the gender they claim to be. This is even more destructive for children given that roughly 80% of gender dysphoric children grow out of it by the time they hit adulthood. Sweden, Denmark, and France have all banned the use of cross-sex hormones in children.

These procedures cannot simply be reversed. Children who have been shepherded down this road by naive parents and doctors and physicians who have deluded themselves into thinking they are solving problems rather than creating them have come forward detailing the problems that come with de-transitioning. Becerra’s HHS claims that puberty blockers are reversible and that hormone therapy is partially so. The number of years and additional hormone treatments needed to reverse them aren’t detailed on Becerra’s “gender-affirming care” guidance sheet.

Braun’s only mistake was saying the procedures Becerra, President Joe Biden, and the Democratic Party are pushing for gender dysphoric children are “almost grotesque.” There is no “almost” about it: These procedures are irreversible and dangerous. Calling it “affirmation” does not make it so.