Fighting America’s Medical Scandal Against Children

Aug 4, 2023

WASHINGTON D.C. – With many states passing laws protecting youth from gender ideology, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week focusing on exposing the dangers associated with attempting to change a person’s gender. In the two-and-one-half-hour hearing, members of Congress from both parties heard different perspectives and powerful testimonies from witnesses about the damaging effects of puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and medical mutilation. They also heard emotional pleas for action to stop these “barbaric” procedures on children. 

The hearing began with a video clip of a doctor explaining the current scientific state of “gender medicine.” Dr. Blair Peters from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, a self-described “queer surgeon” who appeared in the video with pink hair, admitted that doctors are “just kind of learning and figuring out what works.” He explained the challenges of forging an artificial vaginal canal from the lining of a child’s abdomen. He stated plainly, “We know almost nothing about these outcomes.” Chairman Mike Johnson, who facilitated the hearing, responded by labeling this medical mutilation of children as “barbarism” and that it should be prohibited by law. 

In a particularly powerful testimony, Chloe Cole, a biological female who had gender dysphoria at age 13, explained she and her family were victims of “one of the biggest medical scandals in America.” She explained her “lifelong, irreversible harm” began when she and her concerned parents first met with a “gender specialist.” Cole stated this encounter “fast tracked” her onto puberty blockers, testosterone, and then a double mastectomy by age 15. Cole stated that this first encounter with the specialist set her “entire family down a path of ideologically motivated deceit and coercion.”

With her parents’ consent, Cole underwent procedures that “forever” deepened her voice, masculinized her bone structure, and left horrible scars across her chest where when she looks in the mirror, she “feels like a monster.”   

Cole explained, “When my specialists first told my parents they could have a dead daughter or a live ‘transgender’ son, I wasn’t suicidal…after my surgery, I did become suicidal… [the doctors] almost created the very nightmare they said they were trying to avoid.” 

“I didn’t need to be lied to…I needed to be given therapy to help me work through my issues, not to be affirmed of my delusion that by transforming into a boy it would solve all my problems,” said Cole.

She concluded, “This needs to stop…Enough children have already been victimized by this barbaric pseudoscience. Please let me be your final warning.” 

From a clinical perspective, Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, director for the Center of Family Studies at Family Research Council, testified to the committee there is a lack of evidence that these procedures help children. 

Dr. Bauwens stated, “…when it comes to ‘gender transition procedures,’ my field is not operating as a helping profession. Instead, it is actively causing harm.” Dr. Bauwens explained that the medical community is endorsing these irreversible procedures based on ideological consensus, but not evidence. 

“In most cases, 85 percent or more of those experiencing gender dysphoria will desist if they are left alone...and with success rates this high, it is actually unethical to intervene…[however], ‘gendered affirming care’ has created a monopoly on treatment options as it demands that it is the only way to treat gender dysphoria…These kids deserve better. We should be innovating solutions to heal their distress, not coercing them onto a path that tells them they need to remove or change parts of who they are in order to be whole.” 

Rep. Harriet Hageman asked Dr. Bauwens a follow up question, “There is a 100 percent failure rate for ‘sex change’ operations, isn’t there? Because it’s not possible to change your sex?” Dr. Bauwens agreed that was true. 

Paula Scanlan, a former swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, recounted her experiences being a sexual assault survivor while then having to share a locker room with her controversial male teammate Will Thomas (known as “Lia”) who claims to be a woman. She testified about how being forced to change and shower alongside the 6’4” male swimmer with male genitalia brought a hundred women on the swim team to tears, and yet the university’s response was to give the women “reeducation services” to make them more comfortable with the situation. Later in the hearing, Rep. Steve Cohen suggested Scanlan’s situation could have been resolved by installing barriers in the women’s showers. 

Scanlan responded, “By Rep. Cohen admitting we need barriers acknowledges that there are biological differences between men and women, and by acknowledging that we need to have private spaces that are separate from each other…and if you are acknowledging that we need protection and privacy…then you are acknowledging the locker rooms we’ve always used are the correct ones.”

Fortunately, with the rise of gender ideology in America there has been a commensurate introduction of new legislation to protect against it. According to legislation tracking data, 106 bills focused on protecting minors in health care, sports, bathrooms, education and the public square have been enacted since 2022, while 358 additional bills are in the legislative process. An additional 302 bills have failed in committee hearings or were voted down. 

According to Liberty Counsel’s own research, at least 30 states have enacted laws protecting the fundamental rights of children, parents, and women in the public sector.

  • 22 states protect female sports from biological males (at least four states under a legal challenge).
  • 21 states ban puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and mutilating surgeries for minors (at least six states under a legal challenge).
  • 15 states codify parental rights giving parents the “fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of their child.”
  • Nine states mandate use of public-school bathrooms according to biological sex.
  • Seven states protect students/teachers from having to use someone’s “preferred pronouns.”
  • Six states ban public adult performances (drag shows) for minors (at least one state under a legal challenge).
  • Four states prohibit classroom instruction on gender/sexual orientation in a manner not appropriate for the age of the child. 

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act” in both Kentucky and Tennessee keeping those laws that protect minors from medical mutilation in effect. While these two cases continue litigation, these two states are the first to win in federal court so far on the merits of these types of laws. However, in Arkansas a federal judge handed down a permanent injunction against the state’s SAFE Act after a full trial stating the law is unconstitutional. 

Notably, individual state laws such as Idaho’s “Vulnerable Child Protection Act” goes as far as making it a felony for anyone who “knowingly authorizes” or provides “gender-affirming” health care to youth under the age of 18. Kansas’ “Women’s Bill of Rights” legally defines male and female based on a person’s reproductive anatomy at birth. On August 1, 2023, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt became the first governor in the nation to issue an executive order defining gender-based words such as “female” and “woman” and protecting female-only spaces in public. 

The “sex reassignment” surgery industry in the United States was valued at $1.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 11.23 percent from 2022 to 2030. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “There are only two genders – male and female. Deceiving children into a false identity through harmful and often irreversible procedures is child abuse. Puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and mutilating surgeries do not resolve or treat the underlining psychological issues. Objective reality must form the basis of any treatment.”

For more information about state laws protecting against gender ideology, visit Liberty Counsel’s website here.