West Virginia prohibits trans surgeries, puberty blockers for minors

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News April 2, 2023

West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Friday signed a bill banning transgender surgeries, hormone replacement therapy, and puberty blockers for minors.

The bill outlaws those under 18 from being prescribed hormone therapy and puberty blockers. It also bans minors from receiving what leftists call “gender-affirming” surgery.

Evidence supporting the use of puberty blockers in children struggling with gender identity is of ‘very low’ quality, critics say.

“These kids struggle. They have incredible difficulties,” state Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo said on the Senate floor.

West Virginia now joins Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, and South Dakota as states that have limited or banned procedures related to transgender youth. Judges have blocked the laws in Alabama and Arkansas.

The West Virginia bill is unique among other bills that ban hormone therapy, as it allows exceptions in extreme cases. A child may be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy if they get parental consent and a diagnosis of severe gender dysphoria from two physicians specializing in the field, who must provide written testimony specifying that the treatment is needed to prevent self-harm.

LGBT activists were highly critical of the measure.

“Gov. Justice and the legislature are substituting their political priorities for the expert judgment of medical experts – the mainstream American medical community recommends the age-appropriate, best practice medical care that this law now prohibits,” Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign’s state legislative director and senior counsel, said in a statement . “I want to be clear: these lawmakers are denying transgender and non-binary youth care that saves lives. Gov. Justice’s actions today are dangerous, discriminatory, and just another example of politicians in positions of power abusing their authority to cater to extreme elements of their base – harming the children of West Virginia in the process.”

The American College of Pediatricians, a conservative medical advocacy group, argues that such treatments are not only unproven but dangerous.

“There is not a single long-term study to demonstrate the safety or efficacy of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries for transgender-believing youth,” the group said. “This means that youth transition is experimental, and therefore, parents cannot provide informed consent, nor can minors provide assent for these interventions. Moreover, the best long-term evidence we have among adults shows that medical intervention fails to reduce suicide.”

The group wrote that puberty blockers and hormone therapy may be the cause of health problems such as “osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment, and when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility. In addition to the harm from Lupron, cross-sex hormones put youth at an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots, and cancers across their lifespan.”

Nevertheless, the HRC wrote, “Every credible medical organization — representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States — calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.”


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