How informed consent laws can protect kids with gender dysphoria

Minor children seeking gender-affirming care have exponentially increased in recent years. The number of referrals to the Gender Identity Development Center Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust skyrocketed from 250 in 2011-2012 to over 5,000 in 2021-2022.

In general, the legal doctrine of informed consent requires that “the patient must have the capacity to reason and make judgments, the decision must be made voluntarily and without coercion, and the patient must have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment alternatives or nontreatment, along with a full understanding of the nature of the disease and prognosis.”

While the well-established principle of informed consent should apply universally in the medical profession, gender advocates have replaced and repurposed the meaning of the doctrine entirely.

The “gender-affirming informed consent” model encourages patients to affirm what they think they already know and assumes a “one-size fits all” treatment regimen.

A provider that fails to inform the patient of reasonable alternative treatment options may also fail to meet the standard of care, especially where the alternative treatment may provide greater benefit than the treatment being pursued.

Another way in which providers of gender-affirming care can be legally vulnerable is if they coerce informed consent from the patient or the minor patient’s parents while they were under duress. A common example of this was mentioned previously: a doctor telling parents that they have a choice between fully and uncritically accepting the gender-affirming care plan, or condemning their child to eventual death by suicide. In this situation, the parents cannot be said to make this choice voluntarily of their own free will, since they are effectively being blackmailed.

While many providers of gender-affirming care believe they are working toward a more socially just society, they may, in fact, be committing a medical atrocity. For the sake of our children, there must be a course correction.

Source: How informed consent laws can protect kids with gender dysphoria

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