Doctors across the United States scored a major victory Tuesday, Jan. 19, when a federal court struck down the Transgender Mandate. The plaintiffs in the case are religious doctors, hospitals and clinics that serve all patients regardless of sex or gender identity.
This was not the first time a court ruled against the mandate.
In December 2016, a Texas court also struck down the mandate after eight states, an association of almost 18,000 doctors and a Catholic hospital system challenged it.
Under the controversial mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2016, doctors must perform gender transition procedures on any child referred by a mental health professional, even if they believe the treatment or hormone therapy could harm the child. Failure to comply can cost the doctors their job.
The mandate also doesn’t allow a doctor to refer the child to another doctor, even a more qualified one, or for a hospital to find a doctor willing to perform the procedure.
The mandate aims to help children with gender dysphoria, a so-called psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex “assigned” at birth and one’s “gender identity.”
But studies about the issue show that up to 94 percent of children with gender dysphoria (77 to 94 percent in one set of studies and 73 to 88 percent in another) will naturally grow out of their dysphoria and live healthy lives without the need for surgery or lifelong hormone treatments.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Help (WPATH) said that in most cases, gender dysphoria disappears before or early in puberty. (Related: Transgenderism is a disorder stemming from psychological trauma, says man who had TWO sex changes.)
Studies show that the physical changes caused by hormone therapy can cause massive distress for many children who grow out of their dysphoria.
Hormone therapy in female to male patients can affect changes such as deepened voice, clitoral enlargement, growth of facial and body hair, cessation of menses, atrophy of breast tissue and decreased body fat percentage to muscle mass.
On the other hand, the effects of hormone therapy in male to female patients include breast growth, decreased erectile function, decreased testicular size and increased percentage of body fat compared to muscle mass.
Transgender medical interventions also carry very serious medical risks. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies noted that transgender individuals “may be at increased risk for breast, ovarian, uterine or prostate cancer as a result of hormone therapy.”
Meanwhile, WPATH identified the following potential health risks associated with hormone therapy: cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, venous thromboembolic disease and hypertension.
The Transgender Mandate requires nearly all private insurance companies and many employers to cover gender transition procedures or face stiff penalties and legal actions.
But the two major insurance plans run by HHS – Medicare and Medicaid – were exempted from the mandate. The reason they were exempted is that HHS’s medical experts believed gender transition procedures can be harmful.
“Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria,” the medical experts of HHS wrote. “There were conflicting (inconsistent) study results – of the best designed studies, some reported benefits while others reported harms.”
In other words, the HHS issued the mandate despite the findings of its own medical experts on gender transition procedures. The government also exempts its own military doctors from the mandate.
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