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American Medical Association delivers firm rebuke to anti-trans bills that criminalise healthcare

Patrick Kelleher June 16, 2021
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The American Medical Association transgender

The American Medical Association (AMA) has reaffirmed its opposition to anti-trans healthcare bills. (Envato Elements)

The American Medical Association (AMA) has delivered a firm rebuke to the spate of anti-trans bills attempting to criminalise healthcare for trans youth.

Arkansas became the first state to ban puberty blockers and gender affirming treatment for trans minors in April, while similar bills are currently being considered in up to 20 state legislatures.

State representatives are pushing their discriminatory bans through despite firm opposition from medical and healthcare advocacy groups, including the AMA – which is the largest association of physicians in the United States.

The American Medical Association recommitted to its already established position in a wide-ranging statement issued on Tuesday (15 June).

The group characterised such bills as “governmental intrusion into the practice of medicine” and said efforts to ban healthcare for trans minors will ultimately prove “detrimental”.

“Legislatures in 20 states this year proposed banning physicians and other health care professionals from providing medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender and gender-diverse youth,” the AMA said in a statement.

“In response to this legislative trend, physicians and medical students at the AMA’s House of Delegates meeting voted to meaningfully expand the organisation’s strong opposition to undue restrictions on medical care to populations that have been politicised in state legislatures.”

AMA will support human rights by opposing anti-trans bills

Michael Suk, AMA board member, said that gender-affirming care is “medically necessary” and “evidence based” and insisted that it “improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people.”

The AMA drew attention to a letter it delivered to the National Governors Association in April which argued government overreach in healthcare can have “tragic consequences for transgender individuals”.

“The AMA is a strong supporter of human rights and freedoms and will continue to strongly oppose discrimination based on an individual’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” the statement said.

The group promised to keep working to protect trans and gender diverse young people’s right to “explore their gender identity under the safe and supportive care of a physician”.

There was widespread outcry when Arkansas legislators banned healthcare for trans youth in April – but that law is far from the end of the road for transgender people in the United States.

Similar bills are either currently being considered, or have already been considered, in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Alabama, Montana, Louisiana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, Georgia and others.

Meanwhile, numerous states have passed bans on trans minors participating in sports.

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