The field of gender transition care for minors is relatively new, and prominent clinicians have disagreed on issues such as the ideal timing and diagnostic criteria for these treatments as demand has soared. These debates have recently led several European countries with nationalized health systems to a review the evidence and restricting which children can receive sex-related drugs. In June, England’s health agency ruled that children could only be given puberty-blocking drugs as part of clinical research trials.
“Our position is that we cannot see this as just a rights issue,” Thomas Linden, director of Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare, said in an interview last year after the country’s health service announced it would limit hormones. treatments for minors while more research is being done. conducted “We have to see patient safety and accuracy in the judgment.”
In the United States, the debate instead mostly took place in statehouses, becoming among the most highly charged political issues of the last year. Republican-led legislatures began in 2021 to pass bills barring access to gender transition care for minors. They argue that children lack the maturity to consent to treatments, some of which are irreversible, which they may later regret. Many Republican lawmakers took this further, calling the treatment mutilation.
Officials in some states have made it a crime to provide transition-related treatment for minors and raised the prospect that parents could be investigated for child abuse. Other measures are more limited, exempting from prohibitions, for example, patients who have already received treatment.
There is broad agreement among major medical associations in the United States, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, that this form of health care can be beneficial for many patients and that legislative bans are a dangerous intrusion into complex decisions best left to doctors, patients and their families .
In the Batchelders’ home state of Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, told reporters in March that she met with families with transgender children before signing that state’s laws affecting transgender youth. “This is an extremely uncomfortable position for me,” she said. However, she called the new laws sensible measures. “We need to pause, we need to understand what these emerging therapies can actually do to our children,” the governor said.