White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended giving experimental puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children and teens suffering from gender dysphoria as a “best practice” and warned that the federal government would take action against states that ban such practices.
Critics of medicalized gender transition and elective surgeries to remove breast tissue and mutilate the genitals of underage youth say these practices are unethical and lead to a lifetime of sterilization and maimed bodies.
At a White House press briefing Thursday, Psaki condemned Republican elected officials for what she derided as “engaging in a disturbing cynical trend of attacking vulnerable transgender kids for purely partisan, political reasons.” Paski specifically singled out Republican lawmakers in Alabama for debating legislation that she claimed would “target trans youth with tactics that threatens to put pediatricians in prison if they provide medically necessary, lifesaving healthcare for the kids they serve.”
"Just like the extreme government overreach we’ve seen in Texas, where politicians have sent state officials into the homes of loving parents to investigate them for abuse — just to harass and intimidate the LGBTQI+ community — today’s vote in Alabama will only serve to harm kids," Psaki said.
“Alabama’s lawmakers and other legislators who are contemplating these discriminatory bills have been put on notice by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that laws and policies preventing care that healthcare professionals recommend for transgender minors may violate the Constitution and federal law.”
Though Psaki claimed that “every major medical association agrees that gender-affirming healthcare" for gender-confused youth is a "best practice and potentially lifesaving,” the American College of Pediatricians maintains that “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.”
“Puberty blockers may actually cause depression and other emotional disturbances related to suicide," the American College of Pediatricians states. "In fact, the package insert for Lupron, the number one prescribed puberty blocker in America, lists ‘emotional instability’ as a side effect and warns prescribers to ‘Monitor for development or worsening of psychiatric symptoms during treatment.’”
The American College of Pediatricians listed some of the side effects associated with the use of Lupron as a puberty blocker, including: “osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility.” Side effects associated with cross-sex hormones include “an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers across their lifespan.”
In addition to concerns about the side effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, testimony from “detransitioners” who previously underwent treatment seeking to change their gender but now identify with their biological gender has also motivated efforts to ban the procedures for minors. Appearing on “60 Minutes” last spring, a group of detransitioners described how undergoing what supporters laud as “gender-affirming” care made their mental health worse, not better.
One of the detransitioners, a male who once identified as female, reported that he “had never really been suicidal before until I had my breast augmentation.” He recalled that “about a week afterward, I wanted to actually kill myself,” adding: “I had a plan, and I was going to do it but I just kept thinking about my family to stop myself.”
Another detransitioner, a female who once identified as male, developed a “really disturbing sense that, like, a part of my body was missing, almost a ghost limb feeling about being like, there’s something that should be there” after having an elective mastectomy.
Before she took questions from members of the White House Press Corps, Psaki concluded her opening remarks by proclaiming that “LGBTQI+ people can’t be erased or forced back into any closets and kids across our nation should be allowed to be who they are without the threat that their parents or their doctor could be in prison simply for helping them and loving them.”
Psaki then vowed that “President Biden has committed in both words and actions to fight for all Americans and will not hesitate to hold these states accountable.”
The "Vulnerable Child Protection Act," the Alabama bill Psaki took issue with during Thursday’s press conference, bans state employees as well as employees of school districts from “prescribing, dispensing, administering, or otherwise supplying puberty blocking medication to stop or delay normal puberty,” “performing surgeries that sterilize,” “performing surgeries that artificially construct tissue with the appearance of genitalia that differs from the individual’s biological sex” and “removing any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.”
The Republican-controlled Alabama House of Representatives approved the measure Thursday after the state Senate voted to approve it earlier this year. The Vulnerable Child Protection Act now sits on Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk, where it awaits her signature.
Arkansas has already passed a law banning the prescription of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors over the objection of the state’s Republican governor. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has characterized such procedures as child abuse. Last week, a bill banning gender reassignment surgeries for minors became law in Arizona.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org