Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and other Republicans in the Senate are pressing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to disclose the data they use to advocate for “gender-affirming care” such as hormone therapy and sex-change procedures for transgender youngsters.
Risch and nine Republican colleagues from the House and Senate wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. They accused HHS of encouraging medical providers to perform gender-affirming care. They said HHS had a moral responsibility to ensure its recommendations are evidence-based and not driven by a contentious ideology.
To ensure that these changes are not ideologically motivated, signatories of the letter have requested information on what direction HHS is releasing regarding this “care,” as well as proof for these policy decisions and a comprehensive evaluation of the system.
There have been long-standing medical community and legal norms that young people cannot make such long-term decisions until 18. The Republicans are concerned that the FDA assumes teenagers can give informed permission for such procedures.
Legislators cited research showing that when medical personnel doesn’t push or provide treatment to spur a gender change, youngsters who experience gender discordance generally outgrow gender dysphoria and reconcile with their biological sex. They also noted that studies have shown that by the time these youngsters reach adolescence, nearly all have accepted their biological sex.
Lawmakers have voiced concerns that youngsters who use puberty-blocking medications and cross-sex hormones may experience long-term medical and mental health effects, such as infertility, blood clots, osteoporosis, and mood disturbances.
The letter also discredited the argument that transgender kids are less likely to commit suicide or have suicidal thoughts after undergoing gender confirmation surgery.
According to the letter, a recent study indicated that the suicide risk among young people in states where minors may have cross-sex treatments without their parent’s permission was 14% higher than in states where parental consent was necessary.
Furthermore, the most extensive study on the topic, conducted in Sweden over 30 years, found that transgender people have a significantly higher suicide risk than the general population.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 200 million girls and women have done female genital mutilation (FGM). Over 3 million girls are still in danger of experiencing the practice yearly.
Almost everyone agrees that female genital mutilation (FGM) is wrong and harmful to girls and women’s health. And now, in the United States, a contemporary variation of the technique is being extensively approved and pushed to young girls under the pretext of “gender-affirming care.”
Congress has given HHS 30 days to explain its position on “gender-affirming care” and why it believes it outweighs the risks to children’s health and development that some have raised. They have also asked for a “systematic review” of the medical literature HHS has used to support its policy, and for any other information the department has that might shed light on the issue.