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Missouri transgender clinic will no longer prescribe hormones, surgery for children

A St. Louis transgender clinic says it will “no longer prescribe puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to minors for purposes of gender transition.”

The Sept. 11 announcement by the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital comes after it had earlier vowed to fight the state’s new policy prohibiting irreversible hormone drugs and sex-change surgery on children under 18.

The clinic and hospital was under an active investigation by the state attorney general’s office after a whistleblower provided testimony alerting authorities to potentially life-threatening practices performed on children.

A Missouri law bans healthcare providers from performing transgender surgeries such as elective mastectomies and penis removal and other controversial surgeries on minors under the age of 18. Minors who began taking puberty blockers or hormones prior to Aug. 28 will be permitted to continue.

Physicians who violate the law risk having their licenses revoked.

The law, which is set to expire in August 2027, also allows former patients who underwent transgender surgeries or treatments to prosecute physicians within 15 years. It prohibits healthcare practitioners from performing elective mastectomies, penis removal, and other controversial transgender procedures on minors. Minors who took hormones or puberty blockers before Aug. 28 can continue. Medical professionals who break the law risk losing their licenses.

A Missouri court upheld the restrictions in August, including a provision that former patients of transgender procedures or therapies can sue doctors and the clinics within 15 years.

They can be rewarded up to $500,000 if their court case succeeds. Former transgender people nationwide are suing healthcare providers who performed operations or gave hormones to them as minors.

Reed wrote in a February 2023 article for The Free Press that she left the clinic because she could “no longer participate in what was happening there,” alleging that young patients and their parents were not properly informed about the life-altering risks of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, including sterility, and that such drugs were regularly prescribed.

Reed also claimed a lack of treatment protocols and gender-altering medicines for mentally ill children when parents canceled consent.

Reed’s assertions were supported by scores of patient, parent, former employee, and local health practitioner interviews by the New York Times.

An eight-week internal inquiry at the Washington University Transgender Center found “unsubstantiated.” charges of inadequate care creating ill results for patients.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey also investigated Reed’s claims at the center before expanding his investigation to all pediatric transgender health care centers in the state, including requesting Planned Parenthood clinic records on gender-transitioning surgeries and treatments for minors.

The Times reported that the clinic relied on external therapists, “some with little expertise in gender issues,” to assess young patients’ hormone treatment needs.

“Even teens with suspicious medical histories received hormones from doctors with such approvals. Some patients ceased identifying as transgender and received little to no clinic support “report.

The American Medical Association and other medical groups oppose prohibitions on gender-transition operations for kids, arguing that they could harm “gender-diverse” youngsters and adults’ mental health.

On behalf of physicians, the ACLU of Missouri sought to overturn Missouri’s newly enacted law, arguing that it “enshrines discriminatory practices in our health care system,” by denying transgender Missourians under 18 access to gender transition surgeries and treatments and “stripping parents of their fundamental right to make medical decisions for their children.”

–Wire services

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