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American Journal of Bioethics.

Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm

In this article, I argue that (1) transgender adolescents should have the legal right to access puberty-blocking treatment (PBT) without parental approval, and (2) the state has a role to play in publicizing information about gender dysphoria. Not only are transgender children harmed psychologically and physically via lack of access to PBT, but PBT is the established standard of care. Given that we generally think that parental authority should not go so far as to (1) severally and permanently harm a child and (2) prevent a child from access to standard physical care, then it follows that parental authority should not encompass denying gender-dysphoric children access to PBT. Moreover, transgender children without supportive parents cannot be helped without access to health care clinics and counseling to facilitate the transition. Hence there is an additional duty of the state to help facilitate sharing this information with vulnerable teens.

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Volume 19, Issue 2
February 2019


Multiple Marginalizations: What Bioethics Can Learn From Black Feminism Amal W. Cheema, Karen M. Meagher & Richard R. Sharp
Ethical Guidelines for DNA Testing in Migrant Family Reunification Nita Farahany, Saheel Chodavadia & Sara H. Katsanis