Doctor says Boston gender clinic mutilates and sterilizes children
Controversy erupted last week when news of Boston Children's Hospital's Gender Clinic for kids took over social media, prompting outrage over the hospital's "first of its kind" program to facilitate sex-changes for children in the form of hormone treatments and irreversible surgeries.
According to the hospital's website, Boston's Children's Center for Gender Surgery offers a "full suite of treatment options" for children and teens to "transfer seamlessly" into transition surgeries, including double mastectomies for children as young as 15 and sterilizing genital surgeries for teens. The program has seen over 1,000 patients, as young as 3 years old.
Pediatricians are condemning the program, which comes on the heels of news that youth gender clinics around the world are closing and changing guidance due to evidence that transition procedures harm, rather than help, children with gender dysphoria.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, a Catholic pediatrician and a member of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), the largest association of Catholic physicians across the U.S., condemned Boston's gender program in a statement to CNA.
"These surgeries do not treat mental illness nor prevent suicide," Cretella said in a statement, "[but] they do mutilate and permanently sterilize children who have no capacity to assess let alone consent to such life-changing interventions."
The procedures Boston Children's Hospital conducts on transgender children and teens include breast augmentation, chest reconstruction, "facial harmonization," a surgical procedure that modifies the face to appear more feminine or masculine, and surgical techniques to raise or lower a child's voice to match how they identify.
The hospital also performs genital surgeries that are known to carry a high risk of complications for teens. Boston's initial guidance said these surgeries could be performed on minors 17 years of age, then updated its guidance to say 18, after the story broke.
These include metoidioplasty and phalloplasty -- the surgical creation of a penis using existing genital tissue or flaps of skin -- and vaginoplasty, the surgical creation of a vagina.
These procedures are described by surgeons and physicians at Boston Children's Hospital in a series of YouTube videos that the hospital put out to market the procedures they offer.
Phalloplasty, as the hospital describes, is a 12-hour surgery conducted on girls seeking to transition into boys. A girl who undergoes phalloplasty must first have a hysterectomy. Then skin is "harvested" to construct a penis from another place on her body, such as the thigh or forearm. The "vagina may also be removed" and the surgeon grafts the new "penis" into place. On average, it takes a patient 12 to 18 months to heal from a phalloplasty.
Likewise, vaginoplasty is performed on boys seeking to transition into girls, which requires inverting the penis into a vagina which Boston Children's acknowledges requires a significant recovery time and a "lifetime" of upkeep. Boys who undergo vaginoplasties initially have to use a catheter to urinate, the webpage states, and will need to dilate their "vagina multiple times a day to keep it open," for the rest of their life.
Cretella describes these surgeries as "horrors."
"It is only a matter of time before the physicians who perform these mutilating surgeries on children, and the hospitals that employ them, are bombarded by patient and whistleblower lawsuits. This is ultimately what shined a light on the horrors of Tavistock and led to its being shut down," she said.
The Tavistock clinic in the UK was closed as a result of an independent review earlier this year, after complaints made by whistleblowers, patients, and their families -- including 25 year old Keira Bell, who brought a high court case against the clinic for prescribing her cross-sex hormones and facilitating her sex-transition.
"It is ironic that Boston Children's Hospital's announcement should come about now. Just 2 weeks ago Tavistock Clinic in the UK, the world's largest children's gender clinic, was shut down due to risk of harm from transgender interventions," she added.
When CNA reached out to Tavistock, a representative said the clinic was not yet aware of Boston Hospital's new program and therefore had no comment, but explained that Tavistock clinic was shutting down because there was a need for a new model of gender care that is more "holistic."
A public relations representative from Boston Children's Hospital repeatedly told CNA over the phone that the hospital had "no comment" on its gender program, "no comment" to critics who highlight the dangers of surgical sex-changes on children, and "no comment" about Tavistock closing.