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Monica Doumit: Has gender ideology’s turning point been reached at last?

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The National Health Service has announced that puberty blockers will not be part of the care offered by regional clinics replacing the Tavistock Clinic.

The UK’s National Health Service closure of the Tavistock Clinic and the exclusion of puberty blockers in future clinics is a hopeful sign for Australian insurers, medical practitioners and governments.

I was scrolling through Facebook last week, and stumbled across an advertisement from Work Inspectorate Victoria, a government bureaucracy, which made me laugh out loud. The ad was about changes being made to Victoria’s employment laws to better protect kids and proclaimed in bold letters: “Kids under 15 are still developing mentally and physically.”

The Victorian Government is happy to affirm that kids are still developing and so need special protection by the law when it comes to employment matters. But in the case of gender dysphoria, the same government rapidly pushes kids much younger than 15 through irreversible gender transitions and uses the law to punish anyone—including doctors and parents—who disagrees.

Fortunately, common sense is prevailing outside politics. From next week MDA National, an Australian medical insurer that has been operating for almost 100 years, will no longer provide insurance to medical practitioners who assess “a patient under the age of 18 years is suitable for gender transition” or who initiate the “prescribing of gender affirming hormones for any patient under the age of 18 years.”

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Basically, MDA National is saying that if doctors want to give experimental drugs to kids when the long-term effects of doing so are hard to judge, they need to find another insurer or take the risk on themselves.

MDA National President Dr Michael Gannon has reportedly said that the decision is not ideological and no moral judgments are being made. His decision is based on the potential risk that these life-changing decisions carry. He said that the clinical problem might not present for five, 10 or even 20 years, but that this uncertainty made it difficult to determine an appropriate price for insurance cover.

Dr Gannon is no slouch. He has previously served as the president of the Australian Medical Association. Five years ago, under his leadership, the AMA called for a precautionary approach to vaping, while vapes were lauded as a substitute for cigarettes.

Predictably, some in the industry are labelling the MDA National move as transphobic, but as evidence from other countries continues to raise red flags over giving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to kids, we may see more insurers following suit.

Things in the UK have also taken another dramatic step forward in the protection of children against gender ideology. Already last year, the National Health Service ordered the closure of the Tavistock Clinic, England’s only gender clinic for children. Tavistock had been operating with little critical inquiry until it got sued by Keira Bell, a young woman who claimed she was inappropriately transitioned as a child.

A review into the clinic showed a disturbing increase in the number of children who were presented to the clinic, increasing from 50 kids in 2009 to 2500 kids in 2020. It also queried the lack of data kept to track outcomes for the kids who were “treated” by the clinic, the lack of peer review of the clinic’s work and the very limited research on the “sexual, cognitive or broader developmental outcomes” of puberty blockers on kids. Staff also reported being under pressure to adopt “an unquestioning affirmative approach” to gender transition.

Four regional clinics will soon open to replace the Tavistock Clinic, and the National Health Service has announced that puberty blockers will not be part of the care offered. The National Health Service said they should not be regularly used because “there is not enough evidence to support their safety or clinical effectiveness as a routinely available treatment.” Instead, the use of puberty blockers will be limited almost entirely to clinical research undertaken to determine the effects they are having on children. Mercifully, included amongst the oversight board for these research protocols is Dr Hillary Cass, whose meticulous review into the Tavistock Clinic saw it shut down.

With an Australian insurer and the UK-equivalent to Medicare putting a stop to using puberty blockers on children, one has to wonder how long other Australian insurers, medical practitioners and governments will take to catch up. But, as the saying goes, there is none so blind as those who refuse to see.

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