Republican Ohio state Reps. Ron Hood and Bill Dean had better be ready to be called some very ugly names.
That’s because they’ve become the latest state legislators to introduce a bill that would restrict certain treatments and procedures for gender transitioning from being used on minors with gender dysphoria, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“My No. 1 concern, by far and away, is the irreversible nature of these procedures,” Hood said.
“What we are concerned about here is Ohio’s most vulnerable children are being subjected to experimental, unproven, and expensive treatments and surgeries,” Hood added at a Tuesday news conference, according to WKYC-TV.
“Obviously these procedures bring about sterilization which is a very, very permanent decision that is being made at such a young age.”
“The problem is these are children,” Dr. John Wells Logan, a pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said at Tuesday’s news conference. “And they’re being coerced by medical providers who’ve been influenced by the political climate to make decisions that can be life-altering.”
He also called the treatments “social experimentation.”
The “Protect Vulnerable Children Act” would make it so “physicians could be charged with a third-degree felony for attempting therapeutic or surgical procedures intended to alter the gender of anyone younger than 18,” according to The Dispatch.
The bill would also allow parents to sue if said treatments were used on their children. It was still being drafted as of Tuesday.
Criticism of the plan was predictably swift.
“These types of legislative efforts pit the Hippocratic oath against the law, something that no medical or other healthcare professional should have to choose between,” Dr. Scott Leibowitz of Nationwide Children’s Hospital THRIVE Gender Development Program said in a news release by Equality Ohio.
“Evidence-based policy statements and clinical guidelines — published by every mainstream pediatric medical professional association — speak for themselves and are paving the path for minors to receive care that promotes the healthy outcomes the youth deserve.”
“Kids have it hard enough without Ohio House Representatives Hood and Dean invading their pediatrician’s appointment,” Equality Ohio executive director Alana Jochum said in the statement. “Here’s what I know about youth: They have the best environment to thrive when they are supported and can get the health care they need. Instead, this bill promises burden and harassment.”
That sounds nice until you consider the three basic medical interventions that the bill would proscribe: puberty blockers, hormones and surgery.
Puberty blockers are what they sound like: They block testosterone or estrogen from being produced so that the changes usually caused by natural puberty are delayed. However, these drugs were all developed for other applications and aren’t approved for treating transgender youth, meaning they’re being deployed off-label.
Furthermore, there’s almost no clinical research on the effects of them being used long-term on youth.
One study in Britain, according to the BBC, “showed some taking the drugs reported an increase in thoughts of suicide and self-harm.”
Take Lupron, which is used to prevent the onset of puberty in females.
“Lupron was originally Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat prostate cancer, but it’s now routinely prescribed for other conditions such as endometriosis and ‘precocious puberty’ — i.e., puberty that begins too early (generally considered under age eight for girls, under age nine for boys),” Jane Robbins wrote at The Federalist in 2018.
“Many of these patients have experienced extreme side effects that shattered their health and their lives, including severe joint pain, osteoporosis, compromised immune systems, and mental health issues such as severe depression and even suicidal ideation. The FDA has received 24,000 reports of adverse reactions, about half of which the agency has deemed serious.”
And then there’s the potentially irreversible damage caused to skeletal systems of younger patients.
“It has been shown that puberty blockers interfere with the expected increase in bone density in adolescence such that the bones are not as strong as they would be had normal pubertal development been allowed,” endocrinologist Michael Laidlaw said. “These lost years of bone development cannot be regained.”
Beyond puberty blockers are hormone treatments, less commonly deployed on gender dysphoric youth but still used. These also have irreversible side effects, including sterility.
There’s also surgery to permanently alter one’s body. This is generally not done on minors but can be; a 2013 New Yorker article on a family dealing with a transgender daughter found a doctor willing to perform a mastectomy on her when she was 16.
This isn’t the first attempt to get one of these bills passed at the state level, and they’ve all created a heap of controversy.
In South Dakota, a bill was effectively killed after outrage from the woke community. When such a bill was even considered in Florida, NBC News deemed it “anti-gay.” Kentucky will likely introduce such a bill, and I can predict with absolute certainty it will turn into a similar circus.
These aren’t quite the safe treatments that their proponents claim that they are, particularly when you consider that, according to a 2016 report from The Cut, “about 80 percent of kids with gender dysphoria end up feeling okay, in the long run, with the bodies they were born into.”
Experimenting on children isn’t all right just because the cause is de rigueur.
Conservatives should support this Ohio legislation (assuming its final form conforms to the early statements of its drafters) and urge more states to take steps like this — no matter what the cultural headwinds might be.
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