Children under the age of 16 are unlikely to be allowed to legally consent to taking drugs to transition genders in the United Kingdom.
The November ruling comes from three High Court judges and centers on young children that receive puberty-blocking drugs in an effort to transition genders who ultimately come to regret the decision.
One of the claimants, Keira Bell, who says the clinic she visited as a teenager should have challenged her more over her decision to become transgender and administer her puberty blockers, was “delighted” by the ruling.
The second claimant, referred to as “Mrs. A,” is the mother of a 15-year-old girl with autism awaiting puberty-blocking drugs from a UK clinic.
“My fear is – it’s not that she transitions – it’s that she gets it wrong,” the mother stressed before adding it was “frightening” clinics were hasty in their decision to distribute the life-altering drugs.
The ruling, from Dame Victoria Sharp, Lord Justice Lewis, and Mrs. Justice Lieven, noted it is “highly unlikely” a teenager is “competent to give consent” to these treatments:
“It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers. 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.”
“In respect of young persons aged 16 and over, the legal position is that there is a presumption that they have the ability to consent to medical treatment. Given the long-term consequences of the clinical interventions at issue in this case, and given that the treatment is as yet innovative and experimental, we recognize that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorization of the court should be sought prior to commencing the clinical treatment,” the decision added.