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Europe pumps the brakes on transgender care for minors amid uproar in US

European countries are balking at approvals for gender transition services for minors even as the U.S. medical community has pressed forward with the practice despite ethical questions.

The U.S. is now an outlier on transgender issues in that America’s national medical groups are pressing lawmakers and regulators to not only allow, but encourage gender transition services for minors who say they may be transgender.

While the U.K., Sweden, Finland, Norway and France all allow puberty blockers and gender transition surgeries, medical professionals there are pushing back on their use on children, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the U.K., for instance, the National Health Service announced a rollback on the availability of hormone treatments, limiting them to clinical trials exclusively.

“These countries have done systematic reviews of evidence,” said Leor Sapir, a fellow who studies transgender care at the Manhattan Institute think tank told WSJ. “They’ve found that the studies cited to support these medical interventions are too unreliable, and the risks are too serious.”


Transgender flag gender affirming care

U.S. medical institutions have fully backed gender transition services for minors, but European medical professionals are balking at the move. (Getty)

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. have cited the hesitance of European medical institutions in their own calls for more scrutiny on the issue. Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw demanded answers from Yale School of Medicine assistant professor Meredithe McNamara on the issue during a congressional hearing last week.

“If you’re doing a therapy, and it’s, you know, temporary, fine, whatever, maybe let’s try it and see if it works,” he continued. “But when you’re talking about permanent physiological changes, do you not agree, just from an ethical standpoint, that you might want extremely strong evidence of the benefits? There’s no systematic review that states that there’s strong evidence of benefits.”


“Sir, are you aware of how the quality evidence grading system works and how it’s applied?” McNamara responded, failing to name specific studies after the two went back and forth.

“You’re not telling me any study, don’t say ‘standards of care,'” Crenshaw pressed. “Tell me one.”

McNamara was not able to. Nevertheless, Democrats on Capitol Hill and across the country have pressed forward with setting gender transition services for minors into stone.

“They are telling parents that Republican politicians know better than they do what is best for their child,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said at the same hearing. “This is the height of hypocrisy from a group that supposedly believes in limited government.”

Dan Crenshaw

Rep. Dan Crenshaw cited Europe’s hesitance about transgender care for minors in a congressional hearing. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


More than a dozen Republican-led states, including Texas, have already acted to ban or limit the use of puberty blockers on minors.

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