Imagine the Food and Drug Administration announces a new drug with some known side effects and no proven benefits and says, “We’re not quite sure this is safe for the public. We need to run more tests, but until we learn more, everyone should take it anyway.”
COVID-19 vaccines notwithstanding, the American public would rightly mock such guidance, and the FDA commissioner might find a pink slip when he returns to his desk.
Yet something very similar to this just happened at the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy bills itself as the top organization for pediatricians in the United States, and it has formally endorsed the idea that children can consent to experimental “transgender” medical treatments that will leave them stunted, scarred, and infertile.
On Thursday, the academy voted to confirm its 2018 policy statement supporting “gender-affirming care,” but it also authorized a “systematic review of the evidence,” in part, to develop an expanded set of guidance for pediatricians.
As The New York Times’ Azeen Ghorayshi reported, this “systematic review of medical research on the treatments” follows “similar efforts in Europe that found uncertain evidence for their effectiveness in adolescents.” Indeed, many European countries have withdrawn their support for childhood gender interventions, embracing a “watchful waiting” approach.
The American Academy of Pediatrics admits that more research is warranted but endorses the experimental “treatments” anyway. In what world does that make sense?
Like so many other pro-transgender organizations, the academy claims that the best evidence supports “gender-affirming care,” the euphemism these activists use to refer to a wide variety of interventions that aim at making girls look like boys and vice versa.
“Gender-affirming care” involves pumping kids with “puberty blockers”—drugs like Lupron, which the FDA has not approved for gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of painfully identifying with the gender that is the opposite one’s biological sex); or “cross-sex hormones” (testosterone for girls, estrogen for boys) that introduce a hormone imbalance, a condition that endocrinologists would otherwise recognize as a disease. (Endocrinologists treat the endocrine system, which uses hormones to control metabolism, reproduction, growth, and more.)
Psychiatrists, endocrinologists, neurologists, and other doctors testified in support of a Florida health agency’s rule preventing Medicaid from funding various forms of “gender-affirming care,” such as “puberty-blockers,” cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries.
“Patients suffering from gender dysphoria or related issues have a right to be protected from experimental, potentially harmful treatments lacking reliable, valid, peer-reviewed, published, long-term scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness,” Dr. Paul Hruz, an endocrinology researcher and clinician at Washington University School of Medicine, wrote in a sworn affidavit.
Hruz notes that “there are no long-term, peer-reviewed published, reliable, and valid research studies” documenting the percentage of patients helped or harmed by transgender medical interventions. He also notes that attempts to block puberty followed by cross-sex hormones not only impact fertility but also pose risks such as low bone density, “disfiguring acne, high blood pressure, weight gain, abnormal glucose tolerance, breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease.”
Hruz and other doctors argue that the medical interventions often described as “gender-affirming care” are experimental and that the organizations that present standards of care supporting them—the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the Endocrine Society—represent more a political and advocacy effort than an objective analysis supporting these alleged treatments.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is right to launch a systematic review of the evidence, and it should embrace caution in light of that review. If there is no concrete evidence that these experimental and life-altering drugs will actually help children in the long run, then the academy should stop recommending them until it uncovers the facts.
Otherwise, it is needlessly putting children at risk and encouraging medical malpractice that will lead more “detransitioners” like Chloe Cole to file lawsuits after they realize the harm doctors have done to their bodies in the name of this destructive ideology.
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