Gender-affirming care, as described by the Washington Examiner, includes procedures such as hormone treatments and surgeries "that might help transgender or nonbinary people transition to their self-identified gender." In a recent interview with National Public Radio, the Assistant Secretary for Health at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – who is the highest-ranking transgender official in the Biden administration – weighed in on the issue:
"There is no argument among medical professionals," Dr. Richard Levine – who identifies as a woman and wants to be called "Rachel" – told NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin. "Pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine physicians, adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, etc., about the value and the importance of gender-affirming care."
Dr. Jeff Barrows, senior vice president of bioethics and public policy for Christian Medical & Dental Associations, see things differently.
"I know and have talked to many pediatricians who are CMDA members who would strongly push back on this," Barrows tells AFN. "Not only is there no evidence supporting what is called 'gender-affirming care' in minors or adolescents suffering from gender dysphoria, but there's actually increasing evidence of harms that may be associated with this particular type of active treatment."
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also supports gender-affirming care. Still, Barrows says there is "really no good scientific evidence supporting this."
"One of the first things that I point out to people is that when you're looking at a child who has gender dysphoria, which is the diagnosis now that is used by the American Psychiatric Association, and you don't do anything other than give that child supportive care as they move through puberty, 85 to 90% of those children will spontaneously resolve their gender dysphoria just with supportive care."
Based on that, Barrows says it doesn't make sense for parents to have their pediatrician engage in an active treatment for something that goes away the vast majority of time – and particularly since it's an experimental treatment that has significant risks associated with it. He offers a possible scenario:
"[Suppose] I hear a pediatrician tell me that something will go away on its own 85 to 90% of time, but … We have this experimental therapy; it may cause some problems here and there, we're not really sure how well it works. But let's give this to your child.
"If I'm that parent," Barrows concludes, "I'm going to be taking that child out of that pediatrician's office because I don't want my child to get anything they don't need to get."
CMDA has published an ethics statement on "transgender identification" that explains the group's opposition to medical assistance with gender transition based on biblical, biological, social, medical, and ethical grounds.