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Doctors: Biden Administration’s Dangerous Push for Trans Treatments for Kids Falsifies Science


REPORTED BY: JANE ROBBINS | APRIL 19, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/04/19/doctors-biden-administrations-dangerous-push-for-trans-treatments-for-kids-falsifies-science/

pride parade

HHS isn’t run by honest medical professionals. It’s in the grip of ideologues determined to destroy troubled children.

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JANE ROBBINS

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The nation’s public-health establishment lost all credibility during the Covid era by either ignoring or politicizing scientific data. But health bureaucrats seem to have learned nothing. With respect to the highly charged issue of gender dysphoria, they continue to substitute politics for science when necessary to advance the leftist narrative.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released an official document designed to enshrine experimental medical interventions as the standard treatment for transgender-identifying children. Prepared by HHS’s Office of Population Affairs (OPA), the document is a political statement unmoored from actual medical research.

According to Gender-Affirming Care and Young People,” medical interventions such as puberty-blocking drugs, wrong-sex hormones, and surgical mutilation are “crucial to overall health” of young people confused about their sex. (For what it’s worth, OPA falls under the supervision of Dr. Rachel Levine, a man who identifies as a woman.) The document complements a proposed rule announced by HHS in March, mandating insurance coverage for such “gender-affirming care.”

But the claims made in HHS’s new release have been deftly dismantled by an organization of physicians and scientists who still care about reality, and about ethical medical practice. The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM which exists “to promote safe, compassionate, ethical and evidence-informed healthcare for children, adolescents, and young adults with gender dysphoria”  points out that HHS’s discussion is deeply misleading and indeed dangerous. SEGM identifies seven serious misrepresentations of fact crammed into the two-page HHS document. Most of these involve cherry-picking, distorting, or simply ignoring the results of studies on the many facets of so-called gender-affirming treatment.

HHS Mischaracterizes Studies

For example, HHS flatly mischaracterizes a study that failed to find any benefits of “social transition” (presenting oneself as the opposite sex, with a new name, hairstyle, dress, etc.). As SEGM notes, the HHS document cites that study for the opposite conclusion, “wrongly assert[ing] that social transition improves functioning.” HHS presumably assumes readers won’t read the actual study and thus will accept the agency’s false claims about its findings.

SEGM identifies other falsifications of the supposed mental-health benefits of wrong-sex hormones and surgeries. HHS’s “claims of benefits coming from cherry-picked studies do not hold up when the entire body of evidence is properly evaluated in a systematic and reproducible way,” according to SEGM.  

The design of the studies cited by HHS made it impossible to link medical interventions and improved mental health, SEGM observes. By contrast, multiple European studies “concluded that there is a lack of convincing evidence for the mental health benefit for children and adolescents of either puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones.”

SEGM notes, in fact, that the Swedish health authority warned that “the risks of puberty suppressing treatment . . . and gender-affirming hormonal treatment currently outweigh the possible benefits, and that the treatments should be offered only in exceptional cases.”

HHS ignored all this research, which would have led honest medical professionals to at least acknowledge the scholarly debate about the wisdom of these interventions. But HHS isn’t run by honest medical professionals. It’s in the grip of ideologues determined to drive troubled children and their families into the clutches of the trans industry.

Dishonest Use of Data on Suicide

SEGM also criticizes the HHS document for dishonesty about the related issue of suicide among trans-identifying youth. In claiming alarmingly high rates of suicidal ideation in this population — a claim routinely used to pressure desperate parents into consenting to dangerous medical interventions — HHS relies only on “a low quality, non-probability online survey.”

In fact, SEGM reports, “recent research from one of the world’s largest pediatric gender clinics estimated the rate of suicide in trans-identified youth as 0.03% over a 10-year period, which is comparable to youth presenting for care with mental health problems.”

Even more critically, despite HHS’s strong implication that drugs, hormones, and surgeries reduce suicide rates, SEGM clarifies that “no study to date has demonstrated that transition reduces the rate of serious suicide attempts.” Is HHS afraid that telling the truth about suicide will make parents less likely to place their troubled children on the trans-industry conveyor belt?

Puberty Blockers Are Not Fully Reversible

The mendacity of HHS extends beyond misrepresenting or ignoring studies. For example, the document states, without supporting citation, that puberty blockers are fully reversible (i.e., natural puberty will resume once the drugs are discontinued). But SEGM warns about the utter dearth of research supporting this claim. In fact,

concerns have been raised that puberty blockers are psychologically irreversible (since over 95% of all treated youth proceed to cross-sex hormones), that they may harm bone development, may permanently alter the brain, that it is not yet known how they affect other vital organs, all of which undergo significant structural changes during uninterrupted puberty.

Once again, public-health agencies in Europe are more honest. As SEGM reports, Britain’s National Health Service says that “[l]ittle is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria.”

But ignoring the risks of these interventions is HHS’s modus operandi. SEGM calls out the HHS ideologues for mentioning only the supposed (in some cases imaginary) benefits of interventions while failing to mention documented risks to bone development, cardiovascular health, and the mental health of patients who later regret their transition decisions.

Sterility Expected After Trans Treatments

SEGM particularly targets HHS’s failure to mention the effect on reproductive health, which is supposed to be the focus of Levine’s Office of Population Affairs. “When puberty blockers are administered in early puberty and followed by cross-sex hormones,” SEGM notes, “sterility is expected.”

HHS is silent about this potentially devastating consequence. Nor does it acknowledge the “serious ethical questions about whether adolescents can be considered competent to waive their future reproductive rights at an age when they are unlikely to be able to appreciate or predict the importance of fertility to their adult selves.”

Ethics, it appears, is not HHS’s strong suit.

HHS also misleads in stating that mutilating surgeries are “typically used in adulthood or case-by-case in adolescence.” In fact, as SEGM notes, draft recommendations from the influential (though highly politicized) World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) urge broad availability of mastectomies to patients at age 16.

Even worse, patients as young as 13 had their healthy breasts removed as part of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health – i.e., by you and me through our tax dollars. The HHS bureaucrats who prepared this report surely knew this, but distort the facts.

This HHS document, then, is a farce. As SEGM summarizes, HHS inadequately reviewed the scientific literature, issued “biased recommendations that do not acknowledge the low quality of evidence,” failed to solicit input from professionals and patients whose experiences contradict the government narrative, and utterly ignored possible alternatives to medical interventions, such as psychotherapy. The result:

This incomplete representation of the relevant issues is likely to mislead the public to believe that this is the best and only alternative, particularly when no other alternatives are mentioned. The public is also likely to erroneously assume that the risks of affirmative care are low. Patients and families are not capable of providing valid informed consent when the information they receive is inaccurate and incomplete

If the public-health establishment wants to rehabilitate its tattered reputation after the Covid debacle, this isn’t the way to do it. Health policy is too important to be entrusted to political hacks.


Jane Robbins is an attorney and a retired senior fellow with the American Principles Project in Washington DC. In that position she crafted federal and state legislation designed to restore the constitutional autonomy of states and parents in education policy, and to protect the rights of religious freedom and conscience. She is a graduate of Clemson University and the Harvard Law School.

In Its First Year, Biden’s HHS Relentlessly Attacked Christians and Unborn Babies


BY: RACHEL N. MORRISON | MARCH 18, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/18/in-its-first-year-bidens-hhs-relentlessly-attacked-christians-and-unborn-babies/

becerra

March 18 marks one year since pro-abortion radical Xavier Becerra was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s appointee for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Although both men claim to be faithful Catholics, they have launched unprecedented attacks on people of faith by eliminating vital conscience and religious freedom protections and funneling millions of taxpayer dollars to the abortion industry.

At the HHS Accountability Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., we have been keeping tabs on HHS personnel and policy. The oft-heard maxim “personnel is policy” is no exception for HHS, the largest federal agency by budget. While Becerra was AWOL on the Covid fight, he was outright zealous on culture war issues, leading HHS’s singular focus on pushing pro-abortion and anti-religion policies on the American people.

Here are the top 10 lowlights for year one.

1. Dismantling HHS’s Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

One of Becerra’s early acts as secretary was to strip the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of its independent ability to investigate violations of conscience and religious freedom laws. The division was created during the Trump administration to guarantee enforcement rather than neglect of laws that protect these fundamental and inalienable rights.

Becerra’s first budget proposal would have effectively eliminated this division as a standalone entity, despite Becerra having promised Congress that “the work [of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division] will not change.” He, along with OCR political staff (such as political ideologue Laura Durso), refused to even consult with the dedicated career professionals of the division while they methodically removed conscience and religious freedom protections from the American people.

These developments were foreshadowed by transgender activist Dr. Rachel Levine who, prior to being elevated to the number-three position at HHS, proclaimed the division should be “either disbanded or certainly redirected.” 

2. Removing OCR’s First Amendment Enforcement Power

Becerra removed OCR’s authority to enforce conscience and religious projections under the bipartisan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment. A leaked memo revealed this move came at the request of Lisa Pino, the Biden-appointed director of OCR. She is tasked with enforcing civil rights protections in health and human services, not finding ways to remove them.

Remember, it was HHS under Obama that went after the Little Sisters of the Poor and lost under RFRA. Now Becerra has removed the only internal entity that would hold HHS accountable to the law.

3. Pushing a Ridiculously ‘Woke’ Budget

The Biden-Becerra HHS budget for fiscal year 2022 removed references to “conscience,” “religion,” and “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.” But don’t worry, the new budget replaces references to these constitutional and statutory rights HHS is responsible for enforcing with a bunch of woke terms like “equity” — the Biden administration’s preferred priority.

4. Backing Forcing Nuns to Pay for Abortion

While Becerra was attorney general of California before becoming HHS secretary, OCR issued two notices of violation against Becerra and his state for violating federal conscience protections by forcing nuns (and others) to provide insurance coverage of abortion. Apart from the clear conflict of interest with Becerra leading the very office that previously found him in violation of the law, OCR under Becerra “reassessed” the conscience violations, magically finding there were none.

5. Abandoning Nurse Illegally Forced to Participate in Abortion

In 2019, OCR found a hospital had violated a nurse’s conscience rights by forcing her to participate in an abortion over her known conscience objection. When the hospital refused to change its policies to comply with the law, the federal government sued the hospital in federal court.

But on Becerra’s watch and despite his many promises to continue enforcing federal conscience laws, the Biden administration quietly dismissed the case without any settlement, agreement, or compensation for the nurse. Because federal conscience protection laws do not provide a private right of action, she cannot sue on her own and the violating hospital has been let off with impunity.

6. Relentlessly Pushing Abortion With Federal Resources

In response to Texas’ law protecting unborn children with beating hearts from abortion, the Biden-Becerra HHS announced, despite prohibitions on federal funds going to abortion, ways the department could “bolster access to safe and legal abortions in Texas.” HHS is awarding $10 million in additional funding to increase access to abortifacients for those affected by the Texas law.

OCR issued pro-abortion guidance explaining how a federal conscience protection law can protect abortion providers and patients seeking abortions. If HHS’s actions weren’t clear enough, Becerra stated, “We are telling doctors and others involved in the provision of abortion care, that we have your back.” Becerra and OCR clearly don’t want to enforce the law for those who do not want to participate in abortion.

7. Directly Funding Big Abortion

Becerra, who has oddly and repeatedly refused to acknowledge that partial-birth abortion is illegal, led HHS’s charge to fund Big Abortion. In 2021, Planned Parenthood received more than $5.4 million in taxpayer funds from HHS, an amount that is sure to increase over the next three years.

In an effort to further fund Planned Parenthood, the Biden-Becerra HHS ignored democratic norms to rush through new Title X regulations. Title X is a federal program that provides grants for a range of family planning services, but per the statute, such services cannot include abortion.

The new regulations, however, remove the requirement of physical and financial separation between Title X projects and abortion services, require abortion counseling and referrals, and remove conscience protections for Title X providers. Planned Parenthood had dropped out of the Title X program under those regulations, forfeiting that funding stream, but under the new regulations the abortion giant is expected to receive significant Title X funding.

8. Comingling Insurance Payments for Abortion

Last summer, HHS rushed through new insurance regulations that, contrary to the text of the Affordable Care Act, no longer require separate insurance payments for abortion services, allowing those payments to be comingled with payments for other covered services. Besides violating the law, combined payments create a lack of transparency and accountability. Consumers with conscience objections to abortion will no longer be on notice that their insurance plan covers abortion or that they are subsidizing abortions, including for any adult children on their plan.

9. Rescinding Faith-Based Waivers

Prompting a congressional inquiry, the Biden-Becerra HHS gratuitously rescinded waivers previously issued to faith-based adoption and foster care agencies in MichiganSouth Carolina, and Texas that allowed the agencies to qualify for HHS grants while operating in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs. In the press release announcing the rescission, Becerra unironically stated: “At HHS, we treat any violation of civil rights or religious freedoms seriously.”

Please. This action comes on the heels of a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court affirming the constitutional right of foster-care agencies to act according to their religious beliefs on human sexuality in certifying foster parents.  

10. Issuing Totalitarian Anti-Conscience Rules

HHS announced its new interpretation and enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that would force health-care professionals to perform gender transition surgeries and provide minors with harmful and sterilizing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. A new rule codifying this interpretation is anticipated in April and would likely not exempt providers with medical or conscience objections. HHS is also planning to rescind conscience regulations that protect health-care professionals from being forced to assist with abortions and protect others from having to pay for abortions.


Rachel N. Morrison is an attorney and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where she works on EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project.

California Orders Churches To Fund Abortions—Or Else


MId Term drawing

22, 2014 By

Read More At: http://thefederalist.com/2014/10/22/california-orders-churches-to-fund-abortions-or-else/

Tyranney Alert

California Orders Churches To Fund Abortions—Or Else

A regulatory change in California has placed abortion in the category of ‘basic health services’ all insurance plans must cover. Even those churches buy. Photo John Ragai / Flickr

For the past four years, the Obama administration and its friends on the Left were careful to claim that they still strongly support religious liberty while arguing that Hobby Lobby’s Green family, Conestoga Wood Specialties’ Hahn family, and others like them must lose. Principally, they contended, religious liberty protections could not be applied to Hobby Lobby because (1) It is a for-profit corporation, (2) It isn’t a church (and thus not a true “religious employer,” and (3) It is wrong on the science—Plan B, a copper intrauterine device, et cetera, they claimed, do not cause abortions. They implied, if not claimed outright, that they would surely support religious freedom in another case, but Hobby Lobby was unworthy to claim its protections.

The State of California is now calling their bluff. California’s Department of Managed Health Care has ordered all insurance plans in the state to immediately begin covering elective abortion. Not Plan B. Not contraceptives. Elective surgical dismemberment abortion.

At the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the DMHC concluded that a 40-year-old state law requiring health plans to cover “basic health services” had been misinterpreted all these decades. Every plan in the state was immediately ordered, effective August 22, to cover elective abortion. California had not even applied this test to its own state employee health plans (which covered only “medically necessary” abortions). But this novel reading was nevertheless quietly imposed on every plan in the state by fiat.

The news has slowly leaked out as insurers grappling with this change have begun quietly informing employers of this sudden change in the terms of their policy. This is howCP 01 Kaiser Permanente broke the news to one California church that its insurance policy for its pastors and staff would now include elective abortion coverage:

I want to formally share with you that on August 22, 2014, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) notified Kaiser Permanente and other affected health plans in writing regarding group contracts that exclude ‘voluntary termination of pregnancy.’

This letter made clear that the DMHC considered health care services related to the termination of pregnancies – whether or not a voluntary termination – a medically necessary basic health care service for which all health care services plans must provide coverage under the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act.  You may recall that at the request of some employer groups with religious affiliations, Kaiser Permanente submitted a regulatory filing in May 2012 properly notifying the DMHC of a benefit plan option that excluded coverage of voluntary terminations of pregnancies. The DMHC did not object to this filing, permitting Kaiser Permanente to offer such a coverage contract to large group purchasers that requested it. The DMHC acknowledged that it previously permitted these contract exclusions, but now is requiring health care service plans to provide coverage of all terminations of pregnancies, effective immediately.  To that end, the DMHC requires Kaiser Permanente and similar health care service plans to initiate steps to modify their plan contracts accordingly.

Effective August 22, Kaiser Permanente will comply with this regulatory mandate.

police_stateChurches Can Exclude Chemical Baby Killing, But Not Surgical

Several other California churches have received similar notices from their insurers, and others will follow. While California (like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS) exempts churches from its contraceptive mandate, there is no exception to this bureaucratic abortion mandate. This leaves California churches in the illogical and impossible position of being free to exclude contraceptives from their health plan for reasons of religious conscience but required to provide their employees with abortion coverage.

This California mandate is in blatant violation of federal law that specifically prohibits California from discriminating against health care plans on the basis that they do not cover abortion. Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation have filed administrative complaints with the HHS Office of Civil Rights (which oversees this federal law) on behalf of individual employees and seven California churches forced into abortion coverage in violation of their conscience.

What will be the administration and the Left’s response to this unprecedented attack on religious liberty? If they couldn’t stand with Hobby Lobby because it was a for-profit business, not a church, and because they thought its conscience concern was misplaced on the abortifacient nature of Plan B, will they now demand religious liberty for churches forced to cover elective abortion? If not now for religious liberty, when?

Do the administration and the left-wing commentariat continue to see any life in the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections at all? The Left’s response to California’s abortion mandate will reveal whether their claims of respect for religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case were serious or mere fig leafs for an even more dismal view of religious liberty than they have let on.

Article collective closing

Obamacare’s Secret Is Out


http://blog.heritage.org/2013/10/15/obamacares-secret-is-out/

 By 

Timing is everything. And just as Congress’s focus seems to be drifting from Obamacare’s ravages on the economy, Americans are learning the reason this law’s implementation was postponed until after the presidential election.

That reason is becoming clear as person after person opens the mail. Insurance costs are going up. For many, not just going up—skyrocketing.

Ross, a married father of three small boys in Florida, tells us his insurance will be going up $525 per month. “I feel completely helpless,” he says.

Kevin, who also has three small boys, just found out his wife’s individual health insurance premium will be jumping from $79 per month to $311.82 per month.

“For whom exactly is the Affordable Care Act making care affordable?” asked Kevin, who lives in Alabama.

>>> Read here about how to send us your insurance hikes

But this isn’t all. While people are receiving notices that their premiums are going up or perhaps their health plans are being discontinued, there’s a secret in Obamacare’s exchanges, too.

One of the reasons the Obamacare website has been so slow and glitchy? It requires people to enter personal information before they’re able to see insurance plan options. Health and Human Services does this so that if you’re eligible for a subsidy, you won’t see the true cost of your health plan.

Obamacare is laden with mandates that are driving up the cost of health insurance. And it didn’t stop with the original law. Federal bureaucrats are continuing to write more Obamacare regulations. One estimate is that these paper pushers have added 30 words of regulations for every word in the original law.

No small tweak to Obamacare can fix this. No small tweak can give relief to these hard-working dads who are supporting their families and getting the wind knocked out of them by hundreds of dollars in insurance hikes.

If Congress does anything less than defund Obamacare, it is turning its back on all of these suffering Americans.

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