St. Luke’s hospital in Boise is one of a handful of places in the country that offers intervention for sex reassignment in minors, as first reported by the Washington Stand.
The St. Luke’s Children’s Essence Clinic lists five providers on its webpage including pediatric endocrinologists, a pediatric urologist, and a pediatric plastic surgeon. The stated purpose of the clinic is to,
“care for individuals whose gender identity is different from their sex at birth and who do not identify with the traditional definitions of male or female. In working with gender-diverse patients, we utilize the standards of care developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). We offer hormonal therapy, including puberty blockers, and gender-affirming therapy and emotional health assessments.”Advertisement
The debate over “gender reassignment” is being discussed across the country right now in state legislatures. In Idaho, the debate took center stage several years ago.
In 2020, Senator Christy Zito (at that time, Representative Christy Zito) sponsored House Bill 465 in Idaho. The bill’s statement of purpose explained,
“This legislation would prohibit anyone from performing surgeries to remove otherwise healthy tissue or engage in practices to change or affirm the child’s perception of the child’s sex identity to anyone under 18.”Advertisement
This legislation was introduced and printed but was never granted a public hearing for debate and discussion. HB 465 was killed in the House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee.
Because the bill was killed, Idaho Code does not speak directly to the issues of hormone treatments and puberty blockers. Other state legislatures have debated, and in some cases passed, legislation regarding minor children for “gender-affirming therapy” and other sex-reassignment treatment.
Arkansas passed the “SAFE Act” or Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act in 2021. It states in part,Advertisement
“It is of grave concern to the General Assembly that the medical community is allowing individuals who experience distress at identifying with their biological sex to be subjects of irreversible and drastic nongenital gender reassignment surgery and irreversible, permanently sterilizing genital gender reassignment surgery, despite the lack of studies showing that the benefits of such extreme interventions outweigh the risks…”
In a 2021 response to the law passed in Arkansas, the CEO of the American Medical Association wrote,
“For gender diverse individuals, standards of care and accepted medically necessary services that affirm gender or treat gender dysphoria may include mental health counseling, non-medical social transition, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and/or gender-affirming surgeries. Clinical guidelines established by professional medical organizations for the care of minors promote these supportive interventions based on the current evidence and that enable young people to explore and live the gender that they choose.”
The state of California has several years of discussion, debate, and policy-making on this issue.
In 2018 AB2119 was passed with a stated purpose to,
“provide that the rights of minors and nonminors in foster care, as described above, include the right to be involved in the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of their gender identity.”
In 2020 AB2218 was passed. The legislation details in part:
(a) The Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund is established in the State Treasury.
(b) The State Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity shall administer the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund for purposes of funding grants to create programs, or funding existing programs, focused on coordinating trans-inclusive health care for individuals who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, or intersex (TGI).
In 2021 the California Department of Insurance directed all insurance companies in the state to pay for mastectomies for gender transitioning patients under the age of 18.
In the 2020 session in South Carolina, the Legislature passed H.4716, the Youth Gender Reassignment Prevention Act. It is now Section 44-139-10 in South Carolina Law. In response, Dr. Alexis Chavez, Medical Director for The Trevor Project said,
“Legislation that seeks to place a blanket ban on health care interventions for transgender youth ignores health care professionals, it ignores transgender youth, and it ignores the basic dignity of treating every patient. Legislation that refuses to allow best practices would be a major step back for health care overall and would set a dangerous precedent. Furthermore, it would force a doctor to choose between following the law and following the guidelines set by their professional organization.”
St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise was contacted for comment on the following questions:
-When was the Essence clinic established?
-Does the clinic perform sex reassignment surgery on minors?
-On average, how often does the Essence clinic perform these surgeries?
St. Luke’s has not responded as of the time of this writing.
In response to the information on the website of the St. Luke’s Essence clinic, Zito said.
“How unfortunate that an organization founded on Christian Biblical principles would set up an entire department determined to destroy God’s greatest creation. It is heartbreaking that one of the largest healthcare providers in our state is working to destroy future generations.”
Zito also mentioned Genesis 1:27, which says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Zito told Idaho Dispatch that she is not aware of any pending legislation on this topic for the 2023 Legislative Session in Idaho.
Tags: Christy Zito, Gender reassignment, Sex reassignment, St. Lukes