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Prominent medical journal says parents shouldn't have 'veto power' in transgender children's medical decisions

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A prominent medical journal published an article recently making the case that the parents of children claiming to be transgender should lose authority over their children in their medical decisions.

What are the details?

Writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics last month, bioethics professor Maura Priest argued when it comes to "transition-related pediatric care," only the patient has the ability to truly weigh the costs and benefits of undergoing puberty suppression treatment — even if that patient is a child.

It is not the place of doctors or parents to stand in the way, she argued.

"If the medical community is to take LGBT testimony seriously (as they should) then it is no longer the job of physicians to do their own weighing of the costs and benefits of transition-related care. Assuming the patient is informed and competent, then only the patient can make this assessment, because only the patient has access to the true weight of transition-related benefits," Priest claimed.

"Moreover, taking LGBT patient testimony seriously also means that parents should lose veto power over most transition-related pediatric care," she added.

Evangelical theologian and author Nancy Pearcey spotlighted the news over the weekend in a tweet. Pearcey, who teaches apologetics and the Christian worldview at Houston Baptist University, is well known for her work in "Love Thy Body," a book that deconstructs the faulty thinking behind secularism's views on sexuality.

In response to Pearcey's tweet, conservative commentator and BlazeTV host Allie Beth Stuckey remarked, "'Transition-related pediatric care' is something out of a dystopian novel. Absolutely criminal."

What else?

Debate over whether children should be allowed to undergo gender transition treatment has become a hot topic in America over the last few years as the transgender movement continues to pick up steam.

Last October, President Joe Biden made headlines after suggesting that children as young as 8 years old should be able to change their gender. Before that, the nation watched closely as a young boy in Texas, James Younger, became the subject of a transgender dilemma and a child custody battle.

The author of the JME article, Maura Priest, is an assistant professor and bioethicist at Arizona State University who teaches in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies.

According to her biographical page on ASU's website, she also has a certificate in Pediatric Bioethics from Children's Mercy Hospital.

Anything else?

TheBlaze reached out to Priest for clarification about her views, including at what age she believes children should be able to make decisions for themselves about transition care.

In an email response, Priest noted that in a perfect scenario, "Children's desires about transition-related medical care should be followed when those desires line up with the recommendations of a physician who is an expert in transgender medicine, and ideally, one who has been treating the child and communicating with both the child and parent for many years."

But in a fuller explanation, she maintained that a child as young as 12 years old could — and perhaps should — be considered an "equal party" to discussions about their health care, specifically as it relates to their gender.

"The child should at first begin to sit in on the discussions between parent and pediatrician about their health. Once the child reaches a certain level of maturity, the child should become an equal part of the now 3-way discussion about their health care. While the way to determine the correct age for maturity is not something I have a conclusive thought on at the moment, my guess would be around age 12 they become an equal party to the discussion," Priest said.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include a response from professor Maura Priest.

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