A pro-life physicians’ association is fighting transgender ideology with a new initiative, warning that public schools and authorities pose risks to teens confused about their biological sex.

The Biological Integrity Initiative is sponsored by the American College of Pediatricians, an association of more than 600 pro-life physicians and health providers seeking to enable “all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and well-being,” according to its website.

“The massive push we are seeing for children to become the targets of experimental, life-altering drugs and surgeries is ideological in nature, directly opposed to biological reality, antithetical to good medical practice, and deeply disturbing to doctors who have devoted their lives to ethical, compassionate care for their most vulnerable patients — children,” said association president Dr. Michael Artigues, according to a press release.

American College of Pediatricians executive director Dr. Jill Simons said: “The term biological integrity denotes living in consistency with one’s natural, biological self — the integrated whole of body and mind. Children and adolescents should be loved, and taught to love themselves, as wholly male or female. Children are always born in the right body.”

In an exclusive interview with CNA, Simons said the association is responding to “skyrocketing” calls from physicians about “one of the biggest threats to children: this transgender ideology.” 

Simons described three phases to “gender intervention.” Questions about one’s natural sex identity was once labeled “gender dysphoria” but is a term now discarded by medical and mental health professionals.

“The first is social intervention where a child and a family are encouraged to change a name or pronoun, and change the way they dress. This really sets a child on this conveyor belt towards the next intervention, which amps up the danger to the child. Once the child gets on this social transition path, it’s hard for the child to change its mind and say ‘I don’t want to do this’ because it is getting lots of attention and the family has bought into it. It’s not harmless,” Simons said.

The next step is the application of “puberty blockers” that prevent normal natural growth. The blockers “stop normal hormones and the normal natural puberty process in children. It is harmful in many ways we know but also some we don’t know. Imagine, you stop the hormones the brain needs to grow. The brain is developing so much during adolescence, and we know that testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones play a role in how the brain develops, bone structures, muscles, cardiovascular. When these are paused, it is very dangerous,” the doctor said. 

The third step: large doses of cross-sex hormones, which are also harmful, Simons said. “Cross-sex hormones, that is extremely high doses of opposite sex hormones, when following puberty blockers. The biggest danger is that [children] will never have mature sexual organs, ova, and sperm. In other words: They will be infertile and never have biological children,” she said.

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“That’s not only tragic,” Simons said, “it’s something kids should not consent to. It’s not something they can comprehend at their stage in brain development.” She also warned that high doses of cross-sex hormones have been blamed for cancer, endometriosis, osteoporosis, diabetes, premature menopause, and heart conditions.

“This person,” she warned, “is now a lifelong patient with lifelong medicalization of these hormones. Those who undergo surgical transition are subjected to removal of healthy body parts, Simons said, and face a lifetime of medical and surgical procedures to deal with scar tissue, infections, and other conditions associated with their disfigurement.

The American College of Pediatricians has frequently filed amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs before state and federal courts of the United States. As part of its Biological Integrity initiative, it will encourage physicians to speak out on gender dysphoria and assist policymakers, parents, and health care providers and build coalitions with like-minded organizations, and train professionals to offer court testimony.

The Biological Integrity Initiative website links parents to physicians and counselors who can assist them. Other help includes allied organizations such as ChristianCounselorsNetwork and CatholicTherapists.com, as well as Alliance Defending Freedom.

The website advises parents who have children questioning their sex: “Hug them and tell them you love them. Look them in the eyes and tell them that you will be with them to help them achieve optimal health. All children need to be assured of their parents’ love and that they will not abandon them.”

The website also says public schools endanger children. Teens can consent to so-called “gender affirming care,” contraception, and treatment for sexually transmitted disease, drug/alcohol abuse, and mental illness, it said. In some states, teens can consent to abortion without parental permission or knowledge. “It is critical that parents realize that public schools may aid children in transitioning without parental knowledge,” it said.

For physicians, there are links to organizations aligned with the American College of Pediatricians and the Biological Integrity Initiative, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. For instance, it links to a 2021 study of all 3,754 trans-identified adolescents in American military families showed that gender hormone treatment led to “increased use of mental health services and psychiatric medications, and increased suicidal ideation/attempted suicide.”

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The website recommends that physicians should “advocate for the patient and secondarily for the family.” It tells doctors that such patients have “significant mental health issues” and are “searching for an answer.” The international standard for such patients is to refer to a “competent counselor” who will address “the depression and/or anxiety as the core issue,” it said.

Finally, Simons said that health care professionals are often afraid to counter the current transgender ideological movement for fear of losing their jobs and license to practice.