Three major medical associations have asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate and prosecute people who they feel are threatening children’s hospitals and physicians that provide “gender-affirming care.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Children’s Hospital Association wrote to Garland on Monday. Their demands come amid a rash of protests against doctors and institutions that provide “gender-affirming care” for children, which includes hormone therapy or surgery for older teens.
Children’s hospitals nationwide have substantially increased security and are working with law enforcement while some providers believe they need constant security, the associations said.
Garland did not immediately comment publicly, and a representative did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.
Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said this summer that the Department of Justice will ensure equal protection of transgender people under the law.
Rollins said she would not let “hate-based criminal activity” continue in her district after Boston Children’s Hospital said in August that its doctors and other staffers were being threatened over its surgical program for transgender youths. Other U.S. children’s hospitals were also being targeted online.
The medical associations said in their letter that the social media threats have continued, coupled with harassing emails, phone calls and protesters at health care sites.
“From Boston to Akron to Nashville to Seattle, children’s hospitals, academic health systems and physicians are being targeted and threatened for providing evidence-based health care,” the letter stated. “These attacks have not only made it difficult and dangerous for institutions and practices to provide this care, they have also disrupted many other services to families seeking care.”
The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics are two of the nation’s most influential physician groups, helping shape government policy at the national level and in doctors’ offices. The Children’s Hospital Association represents more than 220 hospitals serving kids nationwide.
Boston Children’s became the focus of conservative social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers after they found YouTube videos published by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients.
The medical associations argue that the attacks are rooted in an “intentional campaign of disinformation.”
There is widespread apprehension around federal efforts to monitor domestic, online disinformation, with privacy and free speech advocates expressing concerns about the government impinging on free speech rights.
Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security launched and then quickly shuttered a Disinformation Governance Board.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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