Rachel Levine sets U.S. straight: ‘No argument’ over ‘gender-affirming care’ for children

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, May 2, 2022

Team Biden has declared that there can be no debate over the approval of “gender-affirming care,” including irreversible surgeries, for kids who believe they are transgender.

“There is no argument among medical professionals, pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine physicians, adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, etc., about the value and the importance of ‘gender-affirming care,’ ” Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health told NPR on Friday.

Rachel Levine

Actually, there is plenty of argument, but, remember, Team Biden has just instituted a Ministry of Truth (a.k.a. the Disinformation Governance Board) to target and quell free speech that doesn’t fit its leftist narrative.

The Team Biden department Levine works for, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approves “gender-affirming care” treatments for children that are not reversible — puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and “gender-affirming surgeries.”

In observance of “International Transgender Day of Visibility” in March, HHS released an information sheet on “gender-affirming care” for youth which defined puberty blockers as “using certain types of hormones to pause pubertal development,” which it recommended “during puberty.”

HHS insisted such treatments are “reversible,” but “there is great debate about that, and in any event, it is hard to see how delaying the age at which a child reaches puberty can be reversed since the child will never be that age again,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York noted.

Levine’s agency defined hormone therapy as “testosterone hormones for those who were assigned female at birth” and “estrogen hormones for those who were assigned male at birth,” recommended from “early adolescence onward” and labeled “partially reversible.”

“Gender-affirming surgeries” were defined as ” ‘top’ surgery to create male-typical chest shape or enhance breasts,” ” ‘bottom’ surgery on genitals or reproductive organs,” and “facial feminization or other procedures.” Such measures are “typically used in adulthood or case-by-case in adolescence” and are obviously “not reversible.”

Levine’s insistence that there is “no argument” about these treatments is patently false.

The Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine, which is made up of the type of “medical professionals” to whom Levine referred, states: “We are an international group of over 100 clinicians and researchers concerned about the lack of quality evidence for the use of hormonal and surgical interventions as first-line treatment for young people with gender dysphoria.”

The society’s fact check of the HHS “gender-affirming” document states:

• While puberty blockers used to halt early (precocious) puberty have been shown to be reversible, no such studies exist for puberty blockers administered to stop normally timed puberty.

• The HHS document only describes the potential benefits of “gender-affirming” care, with no mention of potential or known harms. Besides the risks to bone, cardiovascular health, and the risk of regret, the document conspicuously ignores risks to reproductive health. This omission is surprising considering that the Office of Population Affairs’ key focus is on adolescent reproductive health as well as issues of sterilization. When puberty blockers are administered in early puberty and followed by cross-sex hormones, sterility is expected. Even when fertility preservation is an option, most gender-dysphoric adolescents, particularly females, reject fertility preservation procedures. There are serious ethical questions about whether adolescents can be considered competent to waive their future reproductive rights at an age when they are unlikely to be able to appreciate or predict the importance of fertility to their adult selves.

• To date, there has been no attempt by HHS to gather feedback from a wide range of clinicians and patients with diverse experiences with “gender-affirming” care—not only those who claim its benefits, but also those who have experienced or are concerned about the harms. This includes the growing number of professionals who offer options for noninvasive resolution of gender-related distress, young detransitioners who assert that they have been harmed by “gender-affirming” interventions, as well as parents concerned that risks of “gender-affirming” interventions for youth outweigh the benefits. Considering only one side of a complex issue compromises the objectivity and credibility of the recommendations.

• The document presents “gender-affirming” care as the only option for gender-diverse children and adolescents. The HHS fails to acknowledge that there are other treatment options for these youth such as psychotherapy. Treatment decision-making requires awareness, assessment, and comparison of all relevant options, and should be provided in this document.

In proclaiming there is no debate on “gender-affirming care” for children, Levine, a biological male who identifies as a woman, stated: “Those who now attack our LGBTQI+ community are driven by an agenda that has nothing to do with medicine, nothing to do with science, and nothing to do with warmth, empathy, compassion, or understanding. They’re rejecting the value of supportive medicine, rejecting well-established science, and rejecting basic human compassion. They prefer slander, bigotry, and gender-baiting hate speech.”

Actual scientists and medical professionals disagree, but, as York noted: “One way to shut down debate on a contentious subject is to declare that there is no debate on the subject.”

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