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Flawed reasoning on two dilemmas: a commentary on Baron and Dierckxsens (2021)
  1. Florence Ashley
  1. Faculty of Law and Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Florence Ashley, Faculty of Law and Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; f.ashley{at}


A recent paper by Teresa Baron and Geoffrey Dierckxsens (2021) argues that puberty blockers and hormone therapy should be disallowed before adulthood on prudential and consent-related grounds. This response contends that their argument fails because it is predicated on unsupported premises and misinterpretations of the available evidence. There is no evidence that a large proportion of pubertal and postpubertal youths later discontinue medical transition. Meaningful assent is a viable and commonly accepted alternative to meaningful consent in paediatric bioethics. And finally, the primary purpose of transition-related interventions is to actualise youths’ gendered self-image, not treat an underlying mental illness.

  • gender identity
  • feminism
  • reproductive medicine
  • pediatrics

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  • Contributors FA is sole author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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