This isn’t the first time this has happened and I highly doubt it will be the last. A woman in London named Keira Bell has brought a lawsuit against a National Health Service (NHS) “gender clinic” for allowing her to “transition” to being a male when she was an underage teenager. She now regrets the decision and says that the staff at the clinic “should have challenged her more” before allowing her to undergo the various treatments she received. One judge reviewed the request and the clinic’s efforts to have it dismissed and is allowing the case to move forward. (BBC)
A 23-year-old woman who is taking legal action against an NHS gender clinic says she should have been challenged more by medical staff over her decision to transition to a male as a teenager.
A judge gave the go-ahead for a full hearing of the case against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.
Lawyers will argue children cannot give informed consent to treatment delaying puberty or helping them to transition.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust responded by saying that they “always took a cautious approach to treatment.” It sure doesn’t sound that way when you hear Keira Bell’s story. She was just sixteen years old when she went to the clinic for gender dysphoria treatment. After only three therapy sessions of one hour each, they prescribed puberty blockers for her. More treatments followed and according to a separate report, she was given testosterone to alter her appearance and she underwent a double mastectomy three years ago, all paid for and provided by the NHS clinic.
Normally, if Ms. Bell were an adult when she initially went to the clinic, I would have a bit less sympathy for her. That’s a radical decision to make, but we all have to take responsibility for the choices we make in life and she was the one asking for the “treatment.”
But Bell makes a very valid point when she says that children are unable to offer meaningful consent for major medical decisions. This is an accepted principle in American courts when talking about anything from sexual consent to getting a tattoo. Further, she said she was contemplating suicide during that period of her life and told the people at the clinic about it. She was obviously undergoing some severe mental health issues at the time, and in no position to have such a life-changing, irreversible procedure done to her.
Bell also argues that the NHS clinic gave her “experimental drugs.” She’s got a point there as well. While I will preface this by reminding everyone that I’m not a doctor or any sort of medical expert, I’ve had to research this subject quite a bit over the past few years while covering such cases here. In the United States, the FDA has never approved puberty-blocking drugs for use in gender dysphoria treatment and no extensive testing has been completed on the long-term effects. Also, those drugs are generally only given to children before they reach puberty and only when the child is suffering from early-onset puberty.
The NHS gave those drugs to Bell when she was sixteen. Surely she was long past puberty at that point. Who knows what sort of long-term damage was done to her growing body by that sort of radical medical intervention? She’s now undergoing testing to see if she’s still fertile in case she chooses to have children in the future. But it may already be too late for that.
This is the sort of case we need to see brought forward in the United States because the same thing is happening over here. This isn’t pediatric medical treatment. It’s child abuse and medical malpractice. We should all wish Keira Bell the best in her efforts to return to normalcy and to achieve some satisfaction from the NHS. But she should also serve as an object lesson for all children getting caught up in such madness and, more importantly, their parents.