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England’s National Health Service Bans Most Puberty-Blocking

Doctor writing out RX prescription
Image licensed via Adobe Stock.

Following up on an earlier advisory recommending against providing puberty blockers to adolescents who feel they are a different sex, the National Health Service in England has now banned their administration except in the context of a formally approved clinical trial. Moreover, social gender-affirmation will not be the automatic approach taken for children presenting with “gender incongruence.” From the NHS England advisory (my emphasis):

The clinical management approach should be open to exploring all developmentally and psychosocially appropriate options for children and young people who are experiencing gender incongruence. The clinical approach should be mindful that this may be a transient phase, particularly for pre-pubertal children, and that there will be a range of pathways to support these children and young people and a range of outcomes . . . .

A significant proportion of children and young people who are concerned about, or distressed by, issues of gender incongruence experience co-existing mental health, neuro-developmental and/or personal, family or social complexities in their lives. The relationship between these presentations and gender incongruence may not be readily apparent and will often require careful exploration.

Treating each patient as an individual instead of a category to be checked off, one approach fits all: what a concept!

Nonscientific and Ideologically Driven

Please note that this guidance is the precise opposite of immediate gender-affirmation in all cases regardless of the particular circumstances of the patient — a nonscientific, ideologically driven policy pushed by woke medical associations, and the laws and pending legislative proposals in our most progressive states (such as California’s A.B. 957).

The new approach will ban puberty-blocking except in the structured circumstance of a clinical trial. From another NHS England advisory:

We have previously made clear, including the draft interim service specification we consulted on, the intention that the NHS will only commission puberty suppressing hormones as part of clinical research. This approach follows advice from Dr Hilary Cass’ Independent Review highlighting the significant uncertainties surrounding the use of hormone treatments.

We are now going out to targeted stakeholder testing on an interim clinical commissioning policy proposing that, outside of a research setting, puberty suppressing hormones should not be routinely commissioned for children and adolescents who have gender incongruence/dysphoria.

Let us not forget that Norway, France, Sweden, and Finland — not exactly part of the Bible Belt — are also pursuing this more rational approach to gender incongruence. The approach, it is worth noting, is far more similar to the laws of Florida, Tennessee, and some other states than to those of California, Washington, and the rest of the gender-affirmation cartel.

The science is not settled. Gender-affirming care is not necessarily in the best interests of children presenting with gender incongruence. The time is long past for the American media and policymakers to recognize this fact, so that a truly science-based discourse can be launched about how best to care for these children.

Cross-posted at National Review.