A group of prominent physicians have spoken out against a Virginia school district's proposal to institute a number of changes to its middle and high school sexual education curriculum that they say "lack medical justification."
Physicians representing the American College of Pediatricians, the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations are calling on the Fairfax County School Board to reject proposed changes to its family life education curriculum that is currently up for public comment until this Friday.
The proposed changes were officially introduced at a school board last month by the district's Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee, which overwhelmingly passed them.
Among other things, the proposed curriculum would scrub the phrase "biological sex" and replace it with the phrase "sex assigned at birth." Concerned parents have warned that the curriculum would also teach middle school students about gender transition without teaching the health risks of hormone therapy and hormone suppression.
Parents also opposed the fact that children would no longer be taught that "abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method" of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
At the request of concerned parents and teachers, leaders of the aforementioned conservative medical institutions reviewed the proposed curriculum changes and voiced their thoughts in a letter sent to all school board members and Superintendent Scott Brabrand last Friday.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Christian Post, pointed out four of the proposed changes that the doctors claim "lack medical justification."
The letter, spearheaded by ACPeds President Michelle Cretella, states that the district's intent to teach "that puberty blocking drugs, such as Lupron, and cross-sex hormones, are a safe evidence-based treatment of gender dysphoria is medically inaccurate."
"There are no long term studies of Lupron or cross sex hormones in biologically healthy children," the letter states.
"The FDA has approved Lupron for the treatment of diseases including precocious puberty, endometriosis and prostate cancer. When used appropriately for these medical diseases, Lupron has been associated with memory problems, brittle bones, obesity, testicular cancer, and a prolonged QT interval which can cause sudden cardiac death. When Lupron is used in early puberty followed by cross-sex hormones, permanent sterility results. Cross-sex hormones also have significant potential risks including, but not limited to, stroke, heart attack, diabetes and cancer."
The letter cites Cretella's 2016 report in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
In criticizing the proposal to replace the term "biological sex" with "sex assigned at birth," the letter stresses that "sex is an innate biological trait established by the DNA contained in sex chromosomes at fertilization."
The letter refutes the claim that sex is something that is "assigned."
"Sex declares itself in utero; it is recognized and acknowledged at birth," the letter reads. "Gender refers to the stereotypical social roles associated with sex. Gender is not an innate biological trait. Gender identity refers to a person's awareness of being male or female. Gender identity is a cognitive and psychological trait that exists in the mind."
The concerned institutions also call out the district's intent to omit the "the fact that abstinence from sexual activity is the only 100 percent effective way to avoid associated depression, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections."
"Sexually abstinent teens make significantly healthier life choices than their sexually active peers, with poor health choices especially prevalent among sexually active minority youth. According to research by the Department of Health and Human Services and a rigorous study published this year, comprehensive sex education — school programs that emphasize condoms and contraceptives — has failed to demonstrate long term effectiveness in achieving higher rates of either sexual abstinence, or correct and consistent condom and contraceptive use among teens."
They also oppose the district's proposal to teach students about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a daily drug regimen that helps avoid HIV/AIDS infection. A Parent at last month's school board meeting asserted that the drug is intended "for promiscuous adult men and adult women who engage in sex without condoms."
The doctors warn in their letter that even though the drug had received recent approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use by gay and bisexual teens, there have not been many long term studies conducted to determine the impact the drug could have on kids that age.
According to the letter, only one American study has examined PrEP use among adolescent boys who have sex with men.
"The study followed 78 teen boys for just under one year; the boys were paid $50-$75 per doctor visit to participate in risk behavior counseling, receive the medication and have the necessary blood work to monitor for side effects and document drug intake. Among these paid participants, only 22 percent of boys complied with proper dosing based upon their blood work.
"This is a reflection of the cognitive immaturity of all adolescents and their inherent tendency to underestimate risk. In fact, it is very likely that widespread use of PrEP in this age group would trigger risk compensation, in which individuals gain an inflated sense of security and subsequently engage in riskier sexual behaviors than they otherwise would."
Other signatories to the June 1 letter include local Fairfax County physicians John Bruchalski, Story Jones, Camilla C. Hersh and Ron Motley, the executive director of Family Care of Northern Virginia.
Cretella told The Christian Post Tuesday morning that they have not received a response to the letter.
"If the school board fails to acknowledge our correspondence, and still adopts the changes, it will be proof of the board's intractable, unscientific and liberal sexual bias," Cretella wrote in an email. "This will be very unfortunate for the health and well being of Fairfax youth."
At the school board meeting last month, parents who spoke at the meeting stressed that the sex education curriculum being proposed is part of an agenda being pushed on schools by left-leaning political organizations such as Planned Parenthood and LGBT activist groups like GLSEN.
A representative of the Northern Virginia chapter of GLSEN spoke in defense of the curriculum changes at last month's meeting.
"These organizations have received millions in private funding," resident Kathleen Gillette-Mallard said at the meeting. "No matter what you well-intentioned administrators believe, these changes to the FLE programs are designed to push an agenda, an agenda that confuses kids, devastates families and can even ... be fatal."
With the public comment deadline being June 8, Fairfax County residents can still voice their opinions on the curriculum proposal by emailing FLEcomments@fcps.edu.