Article Text

Download PDFPDF
High court should not restrict access to puberty blockers for minors

Abstract

Gender dysphoria (GD) is a clinically significant incongruence between expressed gender and assigned gender, with rapidly growing prevalence among children. The UK High Court recently conducted a judicial review regarding the service provision at a youth-focussed gender identity clinic in Tavistock. The high court adjudged it ‘highly unlikely’ that under-13s, and ‘doubtful’ that 14–15 years old, can be competent to consent to puberty blocker therapy for GD. They based their reasoning on the limited evidence regarding efficacy, the likelihood of progressing to cross-sex hormone therapy and the ‘life-changing consequences’ of puberty blockers. In this article, I offer two concurrent arguments to dispute their reasoning. First, I argue that minors can be competent to consent to puberty blockers for GD, because the decision to undergo puberty blocker therapy is no more complex or far-reaching than other medical decisions that we accept a child should be able to make. Second, I argue that—irrespective of competence—such legal restriction for all children fundamentally contradicts the central ethical tenet of child healthcare: best interests. For these two reasons, the high court should not restrict access to puberty blockers for competent GD children.

  • competence/incompetence
  • children
  • ethics
  • sexuality/gender
  • law

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Other content recommended for you