In an important decision of the High Court U.K. the Court questioned the ability of under 16’s to be in a position to give informed consent to undergo treatment with puberty-blocking drugs
“…. we recognise that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorisation of the court should be sought prior to commencing the clinical treatment.”
The ruling came after Keira Bell brought legal action against the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Trust, which runs the UK’s only gender identity development service for children. Ms. Bell claimed she was treated like a ‘guinea pig’ at the clinic, and said doctors failed to carry out a proper psychiatric assessment and should have challenged her more over her decision to transition to a male as a teenager.
The High Court ruled that, ‘in order for a child to be competent to give valid consent, the child would have to understand, retain and weigh’ a number of factors, including ‘the immediate consequences of the treatment in physical and psychological terms’.
In addition the High Court also found that the child would also need to understand that, ‘….the vast majority of patients taking puberty blocking drugs proceed to taking cross-sex hormones and are, therefore, a pathway to much greater medical interventions’.
The entire judgement of the High Court U.K. may be accessed HERE
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