Conservative opponents of healthcare for trans youths draw on anti-abortion tactics

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Credit: Healthline
Credit: Healthline

A rash of bills introduced in at least 20 states would limit trans youth’s access to gender-affirming care — and opponents say they echo some of the arguments anti-abortion groups put forth about women’s safety as they attempted to shut down clinics.

Like abortion restrictions, the trans bills would expand states’ power over highly personal medical decisions. Backers of these bills, and groups that have initiated some court cases related to trans health, also make claims about the treatment’s risks — although leading medical associations say that gender-affirming treatment is safe, and that delaying or blocking it can create harm.

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Stopping a teen from getting hormonal treatment, [Yale’s Katherine] Kraschel said, is like a multi-year waiting period. And once someone has gone through puberty and has developed physical traits, such as breasts or a typically male-contoured chest, gender-affirming treatment can be even more complicated.

“What health problems are they trying to solve?” asked Alphonso David, a civil rights lawyer who is president of the Human Rights Campaign. “They are looking to devalue and demonize trans people. They are shifting strategies from the bathroom issues to sports and medical issues.”

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