A Democrat lawmaker in the Texas House of Representatives cited science in explaining why she has decided to come out in favor of banning minors from receiving transgender medical procedures.
The statement from Rep. Shawn Thierry (D-146) came after the Texas House advanced a bill on Friday that would ban transgender procedures for minors in the state. The bill was previously stalled by parliamentarian moves from Democrats and now needs final approval in a third reading on Monday to advance.
Thierry said in a statement that she voted to ban minors from receiving “GnRH-analogs, (i.e. “puberty blockers”), cross sex hormones, and to undergo irreversible surgeries when experiencing gender dysphoria” after speaking with constituents and “reviewing the scientific data in this country and around the globe.”
“I am assured that this position is rooted in sound policy which supports the health, development, and overall well-being of minors,” she said.
Thierry noted that most adults in the U.S. believe in protecting minors from acts that expose them to an increased risk of harm as evidenced by multiple goods or services with age requirements.
“This same logic must also apply when approaching the very complex issue of treating gender and body dysphoria in children,” she said.
Thierry said that many of her constituents encouraged her to vote in favor of the legislation while “hostile activists” from the political Left went the opposite direction in trying to get her to vote against it, saying that they made “nasty political threats to influence my vote against the bill,” which included “personal, and even racists, attacks on me as an African American woman.”
She said that she made her decision as a “thoughtful legislator, mother, woman of faith, and child advocate,” and that her sole focus was putting “the safety and well-being of all young people over the comfort of political expediency.”
The scientific arguments that she used to explain her decision included:
One of the key aspects of this debate is the use of drugs which delay a female child from menstruating or a biological male child from physically maturing into adolescence. Puberty is a natural biological process, and it serves a critical role in both the physical and mental development in all human beings. Concerns have been raised that hormonal suppression of puberty may permanently alter a child’s neurodevelopment.
It is only honest to admit and accept that little is known about the long-term effects of prescribing taking GnRH-analogs, (i.e. “puberty blockers”) and cross sex hormones to children as young as 8, 9, and 10 years of age solely for the purpose of affirming gender dysphoria. What we do know is that these drugs can cause harm to a child’s health including early onset of osteoporosis, incontinence, increased risks of blood clotting, stroke and heart attack, infertility and sterility. Moreover, the decision to undergo body altering surgery to remove healthy breast tissue in biological females, or to remove male genitalia in biological males, cannot be reversed. While these surgeries should happen after the age of 18, there is no such law codifying this in Texas without the passage of SB 14.
Science has already proven that the frontal lobe section of children’s brains are not fully developed under the age of 18. The data on teenage brain development has shown that because the prefrontal cortex (frontal lobe) is responsible for decision-making, planning, and thinking about the consequences of actions, teenagers rely more on the amygdala part of the brain. This portion of their brain unduly influences their emotions, impulses, aggression, and instinctive behavior. Clearly, children as young as 8, 9, or 10 years of age, are wholly incapable of understanding that these medical treatments may require that they remain medical patients for a lifetime. For example, what are the long term effects of administering the chemotherapy prostate cancer drug (and chemical castration drug) known as Lupron to a child who is otherwise physically healthy, but who is experiencing gender dysphoria?
Just last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning to the drugs known as puberty blockers, indicated that there is a “plausible association between GnRH agonist use and pseudotumor cerebri.” This condition occurs when the pressure inside the skull spontaneously increases. This can cause brain swelling, severe headaches, nausea, double vision, and even permanent vision loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Early this year, the American College of Cardiology released a study finding that people with gender dysphoria and taking hormone replacements as part of gender affirmation therapy also face a substantially increased risk of serious cardiac events, including stroke, heart attack, and pulmonary embolism. There is also medical literature that children taking GnRH-analogs and long term use of estrogen and testosterone may incur early onset of osteoporosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and permanent damage such as infertility and sterility. Despite talking points to the contrary, data indicates that rates of suicide and depression have not been improved by administering cross sex hormones to minors experiencing dysphoria.
Lastly, several European countries have taken the lead in reverting to a more cautious approach on the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in minors. Finland now recommends psychotherapy as the first-line treatment for gender-dysphoric youth. Their research highlights the profound lack of knowledge about harms of hormonal treatment in children. The Swedish Health Authority no longer offers GnRH-analogs to minors except in exceptional cases, stating, “the risks of puberty suppressing treatment with GnH-analogues and gender affirming hormonal treatment currently outweigh the possible benefits.”
— Shawn Thierry (@ShawnieT146) May 13, 2023