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United Kingdom Bans Hormone Blockers for Children

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Mar 14, 2024
United Kingdom Bans Hormone Blockers for Children

United Kingdom Bans Hormone Blockers for Children

The United Kingdom’s health care system will no longer give hormone blockers to children as part of a major new policy that differs from the widespread practice in the United States.

The National Health Services’ England branch confirmed to the BBC and other outlets that the new policy was made permanent following an interim policy and a review that found there was “not enough evidence to support their safety or clinical effectiveness as a routinely available treatment.”

The new policy means hormone blockers will not be routinely used among children who self-describe as transgender and will only be used in clinical research trials.

Hormone blockers pause the effects of puberty in children. Critics say they can cause long-lasting health problems, including infertility, among minors who use them.

The U.K. government applauded the news.

“We have always been clear that children's safety and wellbeing is paramount, so we welcome this landmark decision by the NHS,” said Health Minister Maria Caulfield. “Ending the routine prescription of puberty blockers will help ensure that care is based on evidence, expert clinical opinion and is in the best interests of the child.”

Debate over puberty blockers has divided states within the U.S. For example, Alabama’s governor signed a bill into law banning the drugs for minors.

“[T]he full effect of puberty blockers on brain development and cognition are yet unknown, though reason for concern is now present,” the findings in the new law state.

Children are not mature enough to make such life-altering decisions, the legislative findings assert.

“Minors, and often their parents, are unable to comprehend and fully appreciate the risk and life implications, including permanent sterility, that result from the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical procedures,” the findings say.

Image credit: ©Heidi Fin/Unsplash

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

United Kingdom Bans Hormone Blockers for Children