An Arizona State University (ASU) professor asserts that parents shouldn’t have a say when it comes to their children’s transgender medical decisions. These sentiments appeared in an article by ASU assistant philosophy professor and bioethicist Maura Priest, published early last month by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Priest argues that only the child can decide what’s best for them when it comes to medical treatments for transitioning genders.
“If the medical community is to take LGBT testimony seriously (as they should) then it is no longer the job of physicians to do their own weighing of the costs and benefits of transition-related care,” wrote Priest. “Assuming the patient is informed and competent, then only the patient can make this assessment, because only the patient has access to the true weight of transition-related benefits. Moreover, taking LGBT patient testimony seriously also means that parents should lose veto power over most transition-related paediatric care.”
Priest further argued that parents vetoing their child’s desire to affirm their identity is harmful.
In 2018, Priest presented the same argument in her thesis to obtain a pediatric bioethics certificate from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Priest’s “Transgender Children and The Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm” asserted that children have a fundamental right to puberty blockers and other hormone therapies even if parents disapprove. Priest argued that the state must enforce this right and propagandize it, characterizing psychological harm as parental denial of transgender treatments for their children.
“The state has a duty to protect minors from serious harm inflicted by their caretakers. Harm which leads to suicide is a serious harm. Transgender youth with non-supportive parents are at a high risk of psychological harm leading to suicidal tendencies. Therefore the state should pay special attention to, and has a duty to protect, transgender minors from psychological harm inflicted via their caretakers,” wrote Priest. “[T]he law should clearly state that transgender youth (after having meet [sic] appropriate diagnostic criteria) have a legal right to PBT [puberty blocker treatments] regardless of parental approval. In addition to these legal parameters, the state should play a role in publicizing information about gender dysphoria and treatment via public schools, government sponsored websites, and public service announcements.”
In response commentaries to this paper, Priest further suggested that children be allowed to live with “another trusted adult” should their parents still disagree with transgender medical treatments.
Nowhere in her paper did Priest address the suicidal tendencies or ideations of individuals who regretted transitioning genders.
One of Priest’s other papers concerning child autonomy argues for granting children the right to vote in elections.
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