In a matter of months dozens of kids—some younger than 9—received taxpayer-funded, sex-change therapy in a state that earlier this year made it legal for minors to undergo radical treatment for “gender dysphoria” without parental consent.
Judicial Watch has obtained documents from the Oregon Health Authority that show 56 minors have received assessments or therapy related to “gender dysphoria” under the state’s taxpayer-funded health plan since January. Seven of the children were aged 0-9, according to the records obtained by JW, 22 were between the ages of 10 to 14 and 27 were 15-17 years old. The publicly-subsidized Oregon Health Plan delivers treatment that can include hormone-suppressing drugs and surgery for those who claim to have gender identity disorder.
Seventeen of the minors received hormone treatments or other drugs since January, the records show. This is described in the state documents as “medications to suppress puberty in gender questioning youth.” It may seem insane, or even criminal, for a licensed medical professional to administer drugs to a child who may be questioning their gender in order to suppress that child’s puberty. The medications as well as psychotherapy and doctor visits are all covered under the state measure, according to the records.
Publicly-funded, sex-change therapy is quite popular in Oregon and state officials evidently wanted to promote the benefit among children even if it means excluding parents. To qualify for the perk, also known as “cross-sex hormone therapy,” under the state-run insurance plan patients must show that they “have any significant medical or mental health concerns reasonably well controlled.” This may seem incredibly subjective, especially for youngsters in the throes of puberty.
Those who want to have sex-change surgery must also complete 12 months of hormone therapy appropriate to their “gender goals,” the documents state. An agency called the Oregon Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) is responsible for setting the standards and changing the state’s policies to allow for the administration of “medications to suppress puberty in gender questioning youth,” according to the records obtained by JW as part of an ongoing probe into the matter.
As of July 438 people—adults and children combined—received services for “gender dysphoria” in Oregon, the records say. Ten adults have received sex-change surgeries since January but no minors so far. The cost to Oregon taxpayers for the procedures, officially known as “gender reassignment surgery,” during this seven-month period was $29,900. JW will continue monitoring Oregon’s program to obtain updated figures as they become available.
The cost of sex reassignment operations are also being passed along to taxpayers at the federal level. Last year JW reported that Medicare, the government’s health program for the elderly and disabled, changed its longtime policy to cover the procedures for transgender patients. For decades Medicare automatically denied requests for sex reassignments surgeries, but the agency committed a shocking about-face last summer by acknowledging the procedures as medically necessary and effective treatment for individuals who don’t identify with their biological sex.