AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
Last week, podcaster and conservative commentator Matt Walsh released his highly anticipated new documentary, “What is a Woman?” which takes a critical look at the transgender movement and particularly its effect on children. The 90-minute film contains a series of interviews with transgender activists and academics who insist, among other things, that puberty blocking drugs are entirely safe and should be used to treat children who believe – or who their parents believe – are transgender. Yet not one of these drugs is actually FDA approved for this use, and evidence is piling up that puberty blocking “treatments” are permanently damaging children as young as five years old.
In one particularly contested interview in Walsh’s documentary, Pediatric Professor Dr. Michelle Forcier states that puberty blockers are simply a “pause button” on puberty that can be flipped on and off like “music.” She asserted that they are “completely reversible” and “don’t have permanent effects.”
Yet, when pressed for data backing up such shocking claims, Forcier abruptly ends the interview and walks out. Notably, this was not the first time she has expressed hostility when confronted with the potential side effects of these drugs. In a 2017 interview, a concerned parent asked Forcier about the side effects of Lupron – a drug frequently used to block puberty in children – and she hotly insisted any side effects were minimal relative to being denied treatment, further suggesting that the side effects of these drugs are “alternative facts.”
Lupron is just one of several drugs currently used to delay puberty in transgender youths. The drug has been on the market for decades, initially to treat prostate cancer and also used for castrating sex offenders. It is not FDA approved for the “treatment” of transgender children due to a lack of long-term research on the potential side effects, among other reasons. While doctors regularly prescribe drugs “off-label,” doing so with children raises deep ethical concerns and has often led to lawsuits against drug manufacturers.
So why have doctors started pumping a cancer treatment drug into perfectly healthy children? In 2009, a group of doctors began using Lupron to treat autism – largely at the behest of Big Pharma, which was desperate to find more uses for the drug, which cost millions of dollars to develop. But using Lupron to treat autism was soon rejected as “junk science,” and one noted professor said the notion of prescribing Lupron to “vulnerable children…fills me with horror.”
As far back as 2001, TAP Pharmaceutical Products was forced to pay $875 million to settle criminal and civil charges regarding the use and marketing of Lupron. According to the New York Times, the company was illegally manipulating Medicare and Medicaid Programs by providing free samples of Lupron, then collecting reimbursements of “hundreds of dollars for each dose” from the government programs. In addition, six employees were indicted for “conspiracy to pay kickbacks to doctors if they prescribed Lupron. The kickbacks included trips to resorts, medical equipment, and money offered to the doctors as ‘’educational grants.” In one shocking example, the company gave a doctor $65,000 in grants in exchange for encouraging the use of Lupron over other drugs. At the time, it was the largest pharmaceutical settlement in history.
Now, the corrupt forces pushing Lupron seem to have found a new cash cow in the sudden influx of children identifying as transgender. According to a recent study, in 2013 just 2-14 children out of 100,000 were diagnosed as gender dysphoric. As of 2021, that number has skyrocketed to a staggering 9,000 kids out of 100,000. While activists suggest this is the result of greater “awareness” and acceptance, many experts contend that it is more a matter of psychological suggestion: the relentless marketing and promotion of transgender issues is causing more children to question themselves – and more parents to encourage those thoughts rather than reaffirming their children’s biological identity, despite data showing that 94% of gender dysphoric youth outgrow their condition.
Even many adults who are transgender have expressed deep concern at the practice of prescribing puberty blockers to young people. Erice Anderson, a trans doctor, has expressed “horror” over the fact that thirteen-year-old children are getting hormone treatment “without even meeting with psychologists.” She believes that many kids are reconsidering their gender identity because it’s “trendy…I think in our haste to be supportive, we’re missing that element.” Whatever the reason, Anderson is deeply fearful of what the future holds for these children: “We’re sailing in uncharted seas.”
But to the pharmaceutical industry, whether or not children are actually gender dysphoric may be largely beside the point. After all, hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue will be generated if this trend continues. One three-month supply of Lupron costs over $11,000. This is in addition to the staggering cost of gender reassignment surgeries. By some estimates, each transgender child represents over $1 million to the pharmaceutical industry.
Costs aside, several medical organizations and even some states have imposed outright bans on prescribing puberty blockers to children. In March, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced he was investigating AbbVie and Endo Pharmaceuticals for aggressively promoting puberty blockers without disclosing the potential side effects for children. Progressives and multiple medical associations blasted the decision as a direct “attack” on trans youth. Yet, two Texas hospitals have also stopped providing these blockers to children. Several other states have also opened similar investigations into the practice or banned it altogether.
Even as progressive gender theory proliferates in the U.S., it has come under extreme skepticism elsewhere in the West, including in countries normally friendly to left-wing ideologies. In February, Sweden banned all gender reassignment drugs for children under 16, citing concern “over the proliferation of medical interventions that have a low certainty of benefits, while carrying a significant potential for medical harm.” Swedish lawmakers also noted “a lack of explanation for the sharp increase in the number of adolescents presenting with gender dysphoria in recent years” as profoundly concerning. Finland and the U.K. are also considering similar bans or, at minimum, significant reforms when it comes to “affirmative” medical interventions for minors.
The mainstream media in the United States have by and large failed to report on these developments and continued to provide cover for the radical transgender activists pumping children full of powerful drugs. But with a self-inflicted health disaster fast arising among America’s youth, it won’t be possible to ignore the crisis much longer.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.