German Doctors Call To Restrict Medical Mutilation on Children

May 23, 2024

The 128th German Medical Assembly, comprised of 250 delegates from all 17 in-country medical associations, called on the German government earlier this month to restrict puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and medically mutilating surgeries for minors. The delegates overwhelmingly passed the resolution 120-47 urging German legislators to limit these procedures to “controlled” research settings and studies only. The German Medical Assembly joins at least eight other European nations with efforts to restrict gender-related procedures as more scientific evidence reveals these procedures do not improve mental health. 

In the resolution, the doctors call specifically for approaching gender confusion first with a “psychiatric diagnosis and treatment of any mental disorders.” Their recommendations also include using “a multidisciplinary team and a clinical ethics committee” to “psychiatrically, socially and psychologically” evaluate any interventions with children for “at least ten years” to inform future guidelines. 

The German Medical Assembly also passed an additional resolution by a vote of 110-64 disapproving of a new German “self-ID” law that allows individuals as young as 14 to legally identify as a gender different than their biological sex without a psychiatric assessment. 

The international calls to back off puberty blockers, hormones, and mutilating surgeries come as newly published studies reveal many dangers and harms from these procedures. 

The German doctors who authored the first resolution noted a Dutch study that found gender confusion to be associated with “poorer” mental health, but that there is a “clear declining trend” that symptoms of gender confusion in children will decrease and desist with age. In addition, the National Library of Medicine published the report “Risk of Suicide and Self-Harm Following Gender-Affirmation Surgery,” which revealed interventions related to gender surgeries increased suicide risk. This report from the University of Texas evaluated 20 years of data on more than 16 million patients finding people who underwent mutilating surgeries “had a 12.12-fold higher suicide attempt risk than those who did not.” The researchers also emphasized patients need years of “psychiatric support” after surgery.

Similarly, recent research published in the BMJ Mental Health journal found that while hormones and mutilating surgeries have not been shown to reduce suicidal risk, they also have not been shown to even reduce suicidal ideation in people with gender confusion. The study, conducted in Finland, reviewed data from more than 16,000 patients who entered the nation’s gender clinics from 1996 to 2019. The researchers found that the higher suicide rate among gender-confused individuals could be attributed to underlying mental health disorders which are largely ignored by many doctors administering gender treatments. 

“It is of utmost importance to identify and appropriately treat mental disorders in adolescents experiencing [gender confusion] to prevent suicide,” the study concluded. 

While German doctors sound the alarm on the dangers of gender-related procedures in their country, nearby nations are already heeding the mounting scientific evidence they cause harm and are moving to protect children. The four-year Cass Review, commissioned by the National Health Service in England and led by Dr. Hilary Cass, has prompted the medical authorities in both England and Scotland to halt prescriptions of these procedures for minors. Dr. Cass examined much of the published research on puberty blockers and hormones remarking the quality of many studies were “disappointingly poor” and stated in her final review they lacked virtually “any positive measurable outcomes.” After the Cass Review, a group of British psychologists issued a letter publicly apologizing on behalf of the country’s medical industry saying they are “ashamed” of the role psychology has played in harming children through so-called “gender affirming care.” 

As the German medical establishment attempts to persuade its government to act, many American medical associations have remained quiet, but some continue to forge ahead on mutilating children despite at least 25 states banning the procedures. For instance, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry all support gender-related treatments. The Endocrine Society responded to the Cass Review stating, “We stand firm in our support of gender-affirming care,” and asserted the Cass Review contained nothing “new.” 

In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Cass noted that these organizations are “doubling down” on “weak” evidence and are “misleading the public” that these drugs are appropriate for children. Dr. Cass advised medical professionals to do “proper assessments” of mental health instead of putting children on an arbitrary “medical pathway” that doesn’t solve problems but ends up “overshadowing” all the other pre-existing problems. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The trans-Atlantic caution signs from European doctors clearly stem from the evidence that gender-related procedures are harmful. The evidence shows gender confusion is linked to underlying mental health issues and should be treated through counseling, not irreversible mutilating procedures. Doctors take an oath to ‘First, do no harm.’” 

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