Republicans Race to Stop Gender Experimentation on Minors
Five years ago, Chloe decided she was transgender. Last year, at the ripe old age of 16, she abandoned the flirtation with transgender ideology and embraced her natural sex.
In the intervening four years, she had both her breasts removed.
“I was failed by the system,” she now says. “I literally lost organs.”
If a new bill becomes law, teens like Chloe will soon be able to sue the doctors who performed permanent, life-altering surgeries on them while they were underage.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) have introduced legislation giving teens up to 30 years to file suit against those who performed gender-transition on them before the age of 18. The Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act allows minor victims to sue for “any physical, psychological, emotional, or physiological harms” caused by any gender-transition “procedure, related treatment, or the aftereffects” of those actions. That category includes dosing minors with puberty blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and performing gender-obliterating “top” or “bottom” surgeries.
The bill also extends the private right of action to a minor’s legal guardian, including his or her parent. But it would only apply to surgeries performed after it became law.
The minors going under the knife “cannot even provide informed consent” for these procedures, argued Cotton. “Any doctor who performs these irresponsible procedures on kids should pay.”
While only 0.7% of all American adults identify as transgender according to a Gallup poll released in February, as many as 5% of people under the age of 30 fit that category, according to the Pew Research Center. The number is highest among those younger than 25.
“Ten years from now, there will be hundreds of thousands of Americans who were permanently scarred by the radical Left’s agenda before they reached adulthood,” said Banks.
Just last week, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) updated its recommendations to lower the age of gender transitions. WPATH advises doctors to begin administering puberty blockers to girls as young as eight, beginning lifelong hormone dosing at age 14, surgically removing a girl’s breasts at 15 (the age Chloe had her double mastectomy), and removing a minor’s genitals at 17.
Even those who support underage gender transition admit that families whose children have been through this process “tell me horror stories. They tell me, ‘Our child had 20 minutes with the doctor’” before having the procedures authorized, said psychologist Erica Anderson, who resigned from WPATH’s board over the issue.
Pro-family groups applaud the effort to give vulnerable minors the ability to obtain legal satisfaction for their suffering.
“This is a positive step for vindicating the rights of these victims of this ideology, which we’re seeing perpetuated across our nation right now,” said Travis Weber, the Family Research Council’s vice president for Policy and Government Affairs, on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” Wednesday afternoon. “We’re glad that Senator Cotton and Congressman Jim Banks are leading this legislation in the House and Senate companion bills, and we hope this legislation moves.”
Lawmakers clearly have reason to fear both physical and psychological damage from gender transitions. States that authorize transgender procedures for minors without parental consent have a 14% higher suicide rate than states that do not, a new study from the Heritage Foundation found last month.
Meanwhile, Banks warns this administration is facilitating a choice that may leave unemancipated minors sterilized for life. “The Biden administration released official guidance recommending irreversible and life-altering surgery for minors too young to apply for a learner’s permit,” said Banks.
On June 15, Biden signed an executive order to “safeguard” young people from “dangerous practices like so-called ‘conversion therapy’ — efforts to suppress or change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” But Biden “is actually condoning a conversion” by facilitating the changing of minors’ gender identity and “calling that ‘affirmation,’” said American College of Pediatricians President Dr. Quentin Van Meter on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” last week.
Biden has also packed his parents council with left-wing pressure groups, many of which endorse gender transitions for minors.
On the other hand, a headwind is growing behind bills that protect minors from predatory surgical or experimental hormonal procedures. Four states already bar doctors from inflicting one or more gender-transition medical practices on minors, according to the left-wing website Fatherly: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas (where the legislature had to override Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto), and Tennessee. Two other states — Florida and Texas — discourage teenagers from making lifelong gender transitions through state regulations. But more than a dozen states have introduced bills on the topic — and the number is expected to increase.
Cotton’s legislation would also uphold the conscience rights of religious medical personnel and safeguard U.S. taxpayers from financing such procedures. The bill states that federal law cannot be invoked “to require a medical practitioner to perform a gender-transition procedure,” and any state that compels Christians to perform such procedures “shall be ineligible to receive any [f]ederal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Pro-family groups say the bill is about affirming young people’s birth gender and shielding them from dangerous medical experimentation.
“We believe that children should be protected from politicized medicine and should have the right to recover for the damages done to them,” said the Family Policy Alliance, one of roughly a dozen groups which endorsed the bill out of the starting gate. Other proponents include Heritage Action, the Alliance Defending Freedom, Independent Women’s Forum, ForAmerica, the American Principles Project, Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, CHANGED Movement, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and of course the Family Research Council.
Those who have been through the pain of transitioning, and detransitioning, say they have found self-acceptance and healing despite irreversible scars — and permanent consequences.
Attempting to identify as a male was “a band-aid for deeper pain, and I regret it,” said Grace, a former transgender individual who underwent a double mastectomy. “I’m so glad to have found hard-won peace and acceptance for myself as a woman.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.