Utah Bans Gender Transition Surgeries, Puberty Blockers for Minors

Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R) signed a bill last week prohibiting gender transition surgeries and puberty blockers for minors in most situations.

Cox signed the Transgender Medical Treatments and Procedures Amendments (SB 16), introduced by State Senator Mike Kennedy (R), a physician, which bans “permanent and life-altering” gender transition treatments for minors as well as puberty blockers for patients not already diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

“Legislation that impacts our most vulnerable youth requires careful consideration and deliberation,” Cox said about the measure, adding:

While not a perfect bill, we are grateful for Sen. Kennedy’s more nuanced and thoughtful approach to this terribly divisive issue. More and more experts, states and countries around the world are pausing these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences.

“We will continue to push the Legislature for additional resources to organizations that work to help this important Utah community,” Cox added. “While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures.”

National Catholic Register reported on the nuances of the bill:

The legislation puts a temporary halt on prescribing gender-transition drugs to minors, but the moratorium does not outright ban them for good. Instead, it directs the state Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a review of these medicines and provide recommendations to the state Legislature. At that point, lawmakers will decide whether they want to make the prohibition permanent or lift it. These drugs include puberty blockers as well as estrogen used to feminize a boy or testosterone used to masculinize a girl.

Individuals who are born intersex, such as those whose sex is ambiguous at birth, are exempt from the law’s requirements, as are those who are prescribed these surgeries or drugs in medically necessary cases that have nothing to do with gender identity.

The Republican-led state House and Senate approved the legislation, while all Democrat representatives voted against the bill.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the measure, stating it amounted to another “political attack” against “trans kids.”

As Fox News reported, in a letter to Cox, the ACLU drew attention to “the damaging and potentially catastrophic effects this law will have on people’s lives and medical care and the grave violations of people’s constitutional rights it will cause.”

The legislatures of at least 18 states are weighing similar bills regarding hormone, and surgical treatments for minor children, as many nations are restricting these interventions in light of concerns children are being victimized by the transgender medical industry.

The prevalence of radical gender ideology in the United States has driven the country to offer children greater access to transgender medical interventions than is now available in Europe, a study by Do No Harm found.

Compared to the United States, “Europe goes a safer and more scientific route,” states the diverse group of physicians, healthcare professionals, patients, and policymakers seeking to “protect healthcare from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology.”

Following its analysis of the laws and policies of European countries, the group concluded, “the United States is the most permissive country when it comes to the legal and medical gender transition of children.”

“Only France comes close,” Do No Harm’s report explained, “yet unlike the U.S., France’s medical authorities have recognized the uncertainties involved in transgender medical care for children and have urged ‘great caution’ in its use.”

The European “consensus,” the organization continued, is “grounded in medical science and common sense,” while the U.S. “should reconsider the gender-affirming care model to protect the youngest and most vulnerable patients.”

According to the analysis, children and teens in the United States have greater access to “gender-affirming care,” including to gender clinics, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries.

Parental consent to access transgender treatments is not required in all cases in the U.S., and various medical providers can prescribe gender-affirming hormones in some areas.

“We are dealing with what may be the biggest medical and ethical scandal of modern times,” board-certified endocrinologist Dr. William Malone told Fox News Digital. “Transgender medicine is big business, and youth who are transitioning today will be medical patients for life, for the next 60-plus years. Mental health among youth is at an all-time low, making them particularly vulnerable to solutions that suggest an ‘easy fix.’”

In England, Dr. Hilary Cass, a pediatrician who led a review of transgender medical interventions for adolescents in her country, wrote, “The most difficult question is whether puberty blockers do indeed provide valuable time for children and young people to consider their options, or whether they effectively ‘lock in’ children and young people to a treatment pathway.”

Cass recommended the closure of Britain’s Tavistock & Portman National Health Service (NHS) Clinic which, previously, had led the way in prescribing puberty blockers for young children claiming to be transgender.

The north London clinic had “been accused of rushing teenagers into life-altering treatment on hormone-blocking drugs,” The Times of London reported as the clinic’s closure was announced.

Tavistock had prescribed puberty blockers to children as young as 10 years of age.

Children under the age of 16 are now referred to children’s hospitals which, according to NHS, will provide a “holistic” approach to gender dysphoria that includes “strong links to mental health services.”

The news of Tavistock’s closure accompanied similar announcements in Sweden and France citing “low quality” evidence for hormone treatment for gender dysphoric youth and the need for emphasis on the risks of transgender medical interventions and “their irreversible nature.”

Similarly, in 2020, Finland announced it would no longer adhere to transition recommendations for transgender youth established by the controversial World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Instead, mental health treatment would be urged as the primary treatment for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

According to the report by Do No Harm, in terms of requirements for medical transition for minors, Finland now asserts “the dysphoria of a minor seeking hormone treatment must be deemed ‘severe’ and ‘permanent.’”

A study published in June by the Heritage Foundation found that, contrary to the message of transgender activists that children and teens must be immediately “affirmed” in their new gender identity in order to avoid suicide, states that allow minors to obtain puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones without parental consent have a higher likelihood of youth suicide.

“Lowering legal barriers to make it easier for minors to undergo cross-sex medical interventions without parental consent does not reduce suicide rates – in fact, it likely leads to higher rates of suicide among young people in states that adopt these changes,” researcher Jay Greene, Ph.D. noted.

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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Spencer Cox” by Spencer Cox. 




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