America’s leading medical associations want the federal government to “investigate and prosecute” people who question the best way to treat children who suffer, or believe they suffer, from gender dysphoria. But 13 state attorneys general have a message: Don’t. They’re right that we need an open debate on this critical issue, especially since the health and well-being of children hangs in the balance.
The 13 state AGs made this point in a new letter, released on October 12, to Attorney General Merrick Garland. They’re responding to an earlier petition from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association, which all but urged criminalizing and censoring any discussion about gender dysphoria care for children.
Stanley Goldfarb, chair of Do No Harm, criticized these associations and praised the state attorneys general:
“Medical associations should follow the science, not try to stifle public debate – especially when they’re pushing a divisive ideology that could literally ruin children’s lives. The AMA demands that we follow their lead without question, yet these are the same forces who falsely equate psychological counseling for children to “conversation therapy” in order to railroad minors into a predetermined path of drugs and surgery. The better path is to listen to these state attorneys general and let this conversation continue nationwide.”
The state AGs write that medical associations “are interested not just in preventing violence but also in suppressing ideas with which they disagree.” Yet as they note, “growing concerns about the current treatment of pediatric gender dysphoria make a free and open dialogue urgently necessary.” They cite how countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Finland are enacting new protections of children, which follows real concerns raised by parents, physicians, and patients.
The state AGs hammer home their point:
“One might expect a bit more intellectual humility from U.S. medical organizations when they address the life-altering, irreversible procedures they are championing as the cure du jour for pediatric gender dysphoria. Last century, leaders of the American Medical Association embraced eugenics as a cure for various social ills. Mid-century, the frontal lobotomy came into vogue as a treatment for psychiatric ailments. Despite these past cautionary tales and recent radical changes in pediatric practices, the medical establishment asks you to forcibly eliminate criticism of the treatment regime for gender dysphoric minors.”
These state leaders conclude by asking the federal government to reject censorship and criminalizing debate. We can’t make their point any better: “Nothing matters more than protecting our children. We need to make sure we are doing that right. The only way to obtain that certainty is through rigorous interrogation of current practices. Criticism must be welcomed, not silenced.”
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