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American Medical Association Strengthens Support for Gender-Affirming Care

American Medical Association Strengthens Support for Gender-Affirming Care

Doctor and patient

At a time when access is under attack, the American Medical Association has committed to opposing criminal and legal penalties for those who provide or receive the care.

The American Medical Association has strengthened its position supporting the care for all transgender and gender-diverse people.

The AMA’s House of Delegates, holding its annual meeting in Chicago, voted Monday to pass the Endocrine Society’s resolution on protecting access to gender-affirming care, according to an Endocrine Society press release.

In the resolution, the AMA committed to opposing any criminal and legal penalties against patients seeking gender-affirming care, family members or guardians who support them in seeking medical care, and health care facilities and clinicians providing it.

The AMA promised to work with federal and state legislators and regulators to oppose policies restricting access to the care and collaborate with other organizations to educate the Federation of State Medical Boards about the importance of gender-affirming care.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Urological Association, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American College of Physicians, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality, and AMA’s Medical Student Section cosponsored the resolution.

The AMA already has a long history of supporting gender-affirming care, including support for insurance coverage of the procedures, which include puberty blockers for young people, hormone treatment, and surgery. Medical associations agree that genital surgery should be delayed until patients reach age 18.

But right-wing politicians are increasingly attacking such care, calling it experimental and unproven, when in fact more than 2,000 scientific studies have examined aspects of gender-affirming care since 1975, including more than 260 studies cited in the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Practice Guideline, the society notes in its press release.

Twenty states have passed laws banning most or all gender-affirming care for minors, and some states restrict the care for certain adults as well, such as those who receive insurance coverage through Medicaid. Five of the states make it a crime to provide the care. At the federal level, far-right Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene last year introduced a bill that would have made it a felony to deliver the care to minors. It went nowhere, but Green reintroduced it this year.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service recently decided to limit the use of puberty blockers to clinical trials, a move that received criticism from LGBTQ+ activists.

In the U.S., 11 states and several cities, including New York City, Kansas City, Mo., and Washington, D.C., have taken steps to protect access to gender-affirming treatment.

Several studies have made clear that gender-affirming care saves lives. A 2020 study, for instance, found that trans adults who had received puberty blockers in their youth had lower likelihood of lifetime suicidal ideation than those who wanted the treatment but did not receive it. A recently released study found that receiving hormone treatment as teens significantly reduced the risk of ever attempting suicide.

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