Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on SB16

Today, the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics released the following statement regarding the passage of S.B. 16 into law, which will severely restrict the abilities of families from accessing evidence-based care:

“By signing S.B. 16 into law, Governor Cox and our state legislature have endangered the health of young Utahns across the state. As pediatricians, we are obligated to follow evidence-based medicine – not politics. By interfering directly with the physician-family relationship, our state’s elected leaders have diminished pediatricians’ ability to do so and care for already vulnerable young people.

Transgender and gender-nonconforming youth deserve better. Like all young people, their focus should be on learning, making friends, and developing their many talents and abilities. Instead, laws like S.B. 16 force our patients and their families to worry whether they will be able to receive the most effective care available to them.

Utah’s politicians should leave medical decisions in the hands of families and doctors. Pediatricians will not stop advocating for all our patients, especially those who are most medically vulnerable.”

The AAP has long supported holistic, multi-disciplinary, gender-affirming care as evidence-based care for transgender youth, which includes the use of puberty-suppressing medications when appropriate. This is outlined in the AAP policy statement, urging that comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space, and in close consultation with parents.

For young people who identify as transgender, studies show that gender-affirming care can reduce emotional distress, improve their sense of well-being and reduce the risk of suicide.