(PM.) A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit has found that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who promoted the gender-affirmation model of care for minors who identify as “transgender,” did not consult with the Food and Drug Administration on the drugs they promote and prescribe. The guidance advocated for “puberty blockers” “during puberty,” “hormone therapy” from “early adolescence onward,” and “gender-affirming surgery” (such as a double mastectomy) either in “adulthood or case-by-case in adolescence.”
When the new guidance was announced in March 2022, Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, who is a biological male but identifies as a transgender woman, inaccurately stated “there is no argument among medical professionals—pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine physicians, adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.—about the value and the importance of gender-affirming care.”
This HHS guidance document, titled “Gender Affirming Care in Young People,” has been heavily critiqued for its unscientific claims. Hans Bader, a lawyer in D.C. who filed the lawsuit, discovered that The Office of Population Affairs was responsible for writing the HHS guidance. He noted that the HHS agency best equipped to extend their expertise on drugs and treatments would be the FDA. The Office of Population Affairs, he reports, deals with family planning, teenage pregnancy, and adoption.
Bader submitted a request through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the FDA for communications between the FDA and HHS about the drafting of content for the “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People” document. When the FDA and HHS failed to comply with the legal deadline (20 days after submitting the request), Bader filed a lawsuit through the Bader Family Foundation, which forced the FDA to respond to his FOIA request.