The judges continued: “It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers. It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.”
“In respect of young persons aged 16 and over, the legal position is that there is a presumption that they have the ability to consent to medical treatment.”
“Given the long-term consequences of the clinical interventions at issue in this case, and given that the treatment is as yet innovative and experimental, we recognize that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorization of the court should be sought prior to commencing the clinical treatment.”
An NHS spokesperson welcomed the “clarity” brought by the ruling.
“The Tavistock have immediately suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under-16s, which in future will only be permitted where a court specifically authorizes it,” the spokesperson said.
The Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock clinic said it was disappointed by the ruling and was seeking permission to appeal against it.
“The Court has ruled that there will be a stay on implementation of its judgment until the later of 22 December or the determination of any appeal,” it noted.
The ruling may influence lawmakers and judges in other parts of the world.
In February, a state representative in Georgia filed a bill that would make it a felony for medical professionals to assist in changing a minor’s gender either through surgery or medication.
Rep. Ginny Ehrhart (R-Marietta) announced her intention to introduce “The Vulnerable Child Protection Act” in October 2019.
Ehrhart told CNA that she had been working on the bill for nearly two years, and that it was “not a knee-jerk reaction to anything that’s currently in the media,” but that she considered it “timely.”
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In April, Liz Truss, the U.K.’s Minister for Women and Equalities, announced plans to prohibit minors from undergoing any permanent procedure intended to change their gender.
In an appearance before the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee, Truss said that she was committed to “making sure that the under-18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future.”