English Court of Appeal Rules Doctors Can Put Children on Trans Drugs

Westminster Abbey Service Marks Beginning Of The Legal Year
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England’s Court of Appeal has reversed a High Court decision restricting the use of trans drugs on children, with “detransitioners” worried the ruling may have put “children as young as 10” on “a pathway to sterilisation” again.

In December 2020, the High Court had ruled to restrict the use of so-called puberty blockers on children after a case was brought against the highly controversial Tavistock and Portman National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust and others by Keira Bell, a so-called “detransitioner” who believes she was “rushed” into life-changing gender reassignment as a teenager and now regrets the irreversible damage this caused.

“There will be enormous difficulties in a child under 16 understanding and weighing up this information and deciding whether to consent to the use of puberty-blocking medication,” the High Court had decided.

“It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers,” they added, further suggesting that “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.”

Now, however, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey Vos, and Lady Justice King have reversed this ruling at the Court of Appeal, claiming that the High Court “was not in a position to generalise about the capability of persons of different ages to understand what is necessary for them to be competent to consent to the administration of puberty blockers.”

“I am obviously disappointed with the ruling of the court today and especially that it did not grapple with the significant risk of harm that children are exposed to by being given powerful experimental drugs,” said Miss Bell, who says she has been left with “no breasts, a deep voice, body hair, a beard, affected sexual function and who knows what else” — possibly including infertility — as a result of her “treatment”.

“I am surprised and disappointed that the court was not concerned that children as young as 10 have been put on a pathway to sterilisation,” she continued in comments quoted by The Telegraph, saying the legal proceedings have “shone a light into the dark corners of a medical scandal that is harming children and harmed me.”

She is now seeking leave to bring the case before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Tavistock trust said they welcome “the Court of Appeal’s judgment on behalf of the young people who require the GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service), and our dedicated staff.”

“The judgment upholds established legal principles which respect the ability of our clinicians to engage actively and thoughtfully with our patients in decisions about their care and futures,” they claimed, saying that it had “affirm[ed] that it is for doctors, not judges, to decide on the capacity of under-16s to consent to medical treatment.”

“We recognise the work we do is complex and, working with our partners, we are committed to continue to improve the quality of care and decision making for our patients and to strengthen the evidence base in this developing area of care,” they claimed.

Earlier this year, however, veteran psychiatrist Dr David Bell told The Guardian how he was hounded and subjected to disciplinary proceedings for blowing the whistle on GIDS because he “could not live with myself given the poor treatment the children were obtaining” right up until his retirement in January 2021.

Dr Bell said supposedly transgender children were being put on a medical pathway after as few as two appointments, echoing the allegations of an earlier whistleblower, clinical nurse Susan Evans, that Tavistock’s emphasis on puberty blockers over psychotherapy was a result of “the treatment pathway of children with gender dysphoria bec[oming] ever more politicised, and mov[ing] away from high standards of clinical mental healthcare with good assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment.”

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