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UNITED KINGDOM, July 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The UK’s National Health Service has administered puberty-stopping drugs to up to 150 children who may have been suffering from autism and not gender dysphoria, a new report has found.  

A report has found that a third of children referred to London’s Tavistock Clinic displayed “strong” signs of autism despite estimates that only one percent of the general population is autistic, the Daily Mail reports.

“A range of psychometric measures are used to assess behavioural and emotional functioning, including features of autistic spectrum disorder and self-harm,” reads the review by Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service. “Around 35 per cent of referred young people present with moderate to severe autistic traits.”

This has raised concern over the roughly four out of ten children who have received hormone blockers to stop puberty following treatment at the clinic, which is thought to mean that approximately 150 potentially-autistic kids have received the blockers so far.

Puberty blockers are the first precursor to so-called sex-reassignment surgery. They prevent puberty’s changes to a teen’s body from taking root and can permanently weaken bones. At age sixteen, patients are then given “cross-sex” hormones to develop traits resembling the opposite of their biological sex, such as testosterone developing muscle and body hair in girls, and estrogen helping boys develop breast tissue.

But on top of the various ongoing controversies and health risks surrounding the physical and psychological reinforcement of gender confusion, experts say the NHS may be needlessly imposing irreversible, dangerous changes on an additional subset of children.

“If you know you’ve been different since you were a small child, there’s the possibility you consider it’s your gender that’s the issue, rather than autism,” said autism expert Dr. Sally Powis, explaining how easy it would be for the condition to be misdiagnosed.

Worse, while doctors would normally be expected to carefully evaluate children’s feelings and weed out such errors before acting on them, a recent UK Council for Psychotherapy memorandum banning reparative therapy (also known as conversion therapy) has had the effect of discouraging skeptical questions about gender identity.

Pro-family advocates around the world have warned that conversion therapy bans can be so broadly interpreted as to prohibit simple, responsible conversations about gender issues. Pro-LGBT activists have dismissed such talk as fear-mongering, yet it appears to be coming true in the UK.

“I have been contacted by psychotherapists who work with adolescents on the autistic spectrum who have expressed concern over the current climate,” psychotherapist James Caspian told the Daily Mail. Psychotherapist Bob Withers added that he believes Tavistock is “under pressure because the trans lobby has become so dominant and powerful.”

At least one member of Parliament is responding to the report with calls for action.

“The NHS needs to fully investigate this,” Tory MP David Davies said. “It would be an absolute scandal if, 20 years from now, we discovered a load of people who are not transgender at all had been stuck on to a medical pathway because NHS personnel were told not to challenge young people who said they were transgender.”