England’s NHS Bans Most Puberty Blockers for Children

England’s NHS Bans Most Puberty Blockers for Children

The National Health Service (NHS) in England will stop routinely prescribing puberty blockers to people under 18. The NHS announced the decision last week, explaining that there is not sufficient evidence that the drugs are safe for children and teenagers. The ban does not apply in the rest of the United Kingdom.

An interim report from an independent review into so-called gender identity care in England says there are “gaps in evidence” in regard to puberty blockers. The entire review is set to be published in the next few weeks. “We have always been clear that children’s safety and wellbeing is paramount, so we welcome this landmark decision by the NHS,” said Maria Caulfield, the country’s health minister. “Ending the routine prescription of puberty blockers will help ensure that care is based on evidence, expert clinical opinion and is in the best interests of the child.”

But doctors and medical workers will still prescribe puberty blockers as part of clinical research on a limited, case-by-case basis—and the ban does not apply to private clinics or prevent people from obtaining the drugs online. Despite the ban’s acknowledgment of a lack of research into the drugs, it never once mentions the topic of biological sex and encourages parents to give their children the right to lead their own social transition.

Right now, about 100 young men and women in the U.K. are taking these drugs, and their prescriptions will continue as well. The number of children seeking treatment from the country’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) has soared in the past couple of years. Currently, according to the BBC, 7,000 children and teens are on waiting lists—and the number seeking “gender-affirming” treatment like puberty blockers has soared in the past three years. GIDS is set to close in the next couple of months, with two new similar services planned to open in April.

There is still much opposition to the use of puberty blockers in kids and teens in the U.K. Former U.K. prime minister and current MP Liz Truss has praised the NHS’ decision—and is backing a bill that would broaden the ban to private clinics. Last month, University London College neuropsychologist Professor Sallie Baxendale raised more concerns about the long-term effect of these drugs on children. Her study highlighted cases where girls as young as 11 seemingly lost IQ points while taking puberty blockers. Multiple journals refused to publish her paper, calling her research biased.

In the now-published article, Baxendale has pointed out that there is little research into the long-term consequences of these treatments in children and teenagers. “Critical questions remain unanswered regarding the nature, extent and permanence of any arrested development of cognitive function that may be associated with pharmacological blocking of puberty in humans,” she writes.

Christians who oppose gender transition point out that the problems with gender-change procedures are not just medical. “It is fundamentally a moral matter about how we as human beings should live,” writes Public Policy Researcher Carys Moseley at ChristianConcern.com. “Should we give in to impossible fantasies about being members of the opposite sex, or learn to live in harmony with our bodies?”

Photo: Adobe Stock

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