“The new NHS model is in line with medical ethics and the best science we have. Sweden, Finland, and France are also putting the brakes on child and adolescent transgender interventions,” Dr. Michelle Cretella, a Catholic pediatrician and past executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, told CNA.
Cretella is also a board member of Advocates Protecting Children, which offers resources for parents and the lay public to learn the truth about transgenderism.
“This is exactly what America should do as well,” Cretella added.
England’s ongoing review into the safety and efficacy of the gender-affirming model — known as the Cass Review — is led by Dr. Hilary Cass, who previously served as president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
In a letter to children in the review’s interim report, Cass addressed the push to prescribe hormone treatments for those struggling with gender dysphoria.
“The [topic] that I know is worrying some of you is whether I will suggest that hormone treatments should be stopped. On this issue, I have to share my thoughts as a doctor,” Cass wrote.
“We know quite a bit about hormone treatments, but there is still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects,” she added.
Following a period of public comment and months of review, the NHS’ new program will be subject to a final review before going live by 2023-24.
The NHS did not immediately respond to CNA’s request for comment.
“The NHS decision is a critically important step in the right direction, because it recognizes the lack of evidence to support the ‘gender-affirming’ protocol, which endorses psycho-social transition, puberty blockers, hormones, and even surgery on minors,” Mary Rice Hasson, director of the Person and Identity Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), told CNA.
Hasson said she was still concerned about the NHS’ “stated willingness to continue to permit some of these medical interventions in a research setting.”
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“The truth is that it is never the answer to block puberty or give cross-sex hormones as the answer to psychological distress about one’s identity or body,” Hasson said.
“No one can change sex, so any attempt to embark down a medicalized path to alter a child’s appearance and destroy or impair the body’s natural function is unjustified.”
Warning about puberty blockers and hormones
Most significantly, the guidance says the NHS will stop prescribing controversial hormone drugs to children unless they are monitored by a “formal research program” that includes follow-up into adulthood.
“NHS England will only commission [puberty blockers] in the context of a formal research protocol. The research protocol will set out eligibility criteria for participation,” the document says.
The NHS explains that the stronger safeguards will ensure children and their parents are provided “greater transparency” about “the uncertain clinical benefits and longer-term health impacts” from the use of puberty blockers and hormone treatments.