LONDON (LifeSiteNews) – An appeal to reverse a controversial U.K. High Court ruling allowing gender-confused children to consent to taking puberty blockers was thwarted last week by Britain’s Supreme Court.
On May 6, judges at the U.K.’s highest court decided not to hear a final appeal against a 2021 ruling which determined that children under 16 years old could consent to puberty blocking “treatment” without parental consent, despite uncertainty around the long-term effects of the drugs.
Kiera Bell, formerly a “transgender man” who was prescribed puberty blockers when she was 16 and who has since “de-transitioned,” had originally won a 2020 ruling from the High Court against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust – home to Britain’s sole “gender identity service for children” (GIDS) – determining that children under 16 years of age “may only consent to the use of medication intended to suppress puberty where he or she is competent to understand the nature of the treatment.”
The court deemed it “highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers” at the time of the ruling, and added that it is “doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.”
The decision meant that most under 16s could not lawfully consent to taking puberty blockers and that children older than 16 might still require “the authorisation of the court” before being prescribed the body-altering drugs, owing to the long-term consequences of such “treatment.”
However, Bell’s victory was overturned within one year. Tavistock successfully challenged the decision at the Court of Appeals, arguing that children had been inhibited from making autonomous decisions.
Bell’s legal representation argued that Tavistock’s protocols had “as a whole failed to ensure, or were insufficient to ensure, proper consent was being given by children who commenced on puberty blockers.”
The three appeals justices determined in September 2021 that it was “inappropriate” for the High Court to defer judgement on competency to consent to the courts and that such decisions should be entrusted to clinicians, concluding that Tavistock did not act unlawfully in prescribing puberty blockers to children without parental consent.
Commenting after the 2021 appeal ruling, Bell said that she was “’surprised and disappointed that the court was not concerned that children as young as 10 have been put on a pathway to sterilisation.”
“It is a fantasy and deeply concerning that any doctor could believe a 10-year-old could consent to the loss of their fertility,” she added.
Following the 2021 appeals court ruling, Bell moved to bring the case before the Supreme Court, but was denied a hearing earlier this month, leaving the Tavistock Centre the freedom to prescribe hormone blocking drugs to young children who are suffering from gender dysphoria.
The powerful drugs can cause irreversible damage to a developing child’s body, including bone density issues, cognitive impairment, kidney damage and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, can render a person infertile for life.
According to the National Health Service’s (NHS) website, “[f]rom the age of 16, teenagers who’ve been on hormone blockers for at least 12 months may be given cross-sex hormones, also known as gender-affirming hormones.” The NHS recognizes the scope for irreversible effects, including permanent infertility.
Indeed, a Swedish teenage girl who attempted to “transition” into a boy by using puberty blocking drugs at the age of eleven has developed severe skeletal damage, to the extent that she finds it difficult to walk, an investigational documentary into the abuses of “transgender therapy” found.
Following the publication of the Supreme Court’s refusal to revisit the case on May 6, Bell expressed her disappointment in the decision while stating that the 16-month saga has at least “shone a light on the murky practices of one of the greatest medical scandals of the modern era.”
“Practice and policy has changed as a result,” she said.