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Catholic bioethicist laments HHS removal of restrictions on fetal tissue research

Sign outside National Institute of Health, Department for Health and human Services, Washington DC. Via Shutterstock

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 21:01 pm (CNA).

A Catholic bioethicist has repeated his objection to the Biden administration’s decision that the National Institutes of Health no longer needs an ethics board’s approval before awarding funding to researchers who will use fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions.


“The current administration offers the pretense of acting ethically when they stress that the requirement for obtaining consent still stands, meaningless as it is, even as they adroitly eliminate any substantive ethical review by outside entities,” Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told CNA.


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced May 5 the elimination of the requirement for approval by an ethics advisory board for research proposing use of human fetal tissue from abortion.


The announcement is an official notice to researchers who are looking for grants in the area of human fetal tissue projects.


“Even when the mother of an aborted child signs the dotted line granting permission to utilize fetal cells and organs, that consent is necessarily void,” Fr. Pacholczyk told CNA. “The mother has disqualified herself from being able to give valid informed consent because she has already renounced her child's best interests by arranging to end her baby's life through abortion.”


The announcement highlights an April 16 reversal of the Trump administration’s requirement that an ethics advisory board must review and approve all research grant applications and contract proposals that include the use of fetal tissue used from abortion in order to get funding from the NIH. 


“Effective immediately, HHS no longer requires review and approval by an ethics advisory board for research proposing use of human fetal tissue,” the announcement said. “Accordingly, HHS will no longer convene the NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board.”


Fr Pacholczyk told CNA: “This pro-abortion administration is operating in a very troubling moral vacuum, eager to bypass even the most basic ethical standards that should govern taxpayer-funded biomedical research. The foxes are seeking complete control of the henhouse.”


The priest, a former member of the fetal tissue advisory board, recently told the National Catholic Register that “The decision to reinstate NIH support for research involving fetal tissue from abortions reveals a kind of moral vacuum in the world of scientific research.”


Fr. Pacholczyk lauded the ethics board’s previous work in his interview with the Register: “The board acted with moral clarity and ethical resolve as it carried out its mandate.” 


“Very regrettably, the current administration is jettisoning serious ethical review to safeguard abortion and to assure the continued exploitation of vulnerable unborn Americans. Outside ethical review is essential,” he said.


The board had voted to withhold federal funding from 13 fetal tissue research proposals, and permitted funding for one.


In Dignitas personae, its 2008 instruction on certain bioethical questions, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that researchers have a duty to refuse to use biological material of illicit origin, a duty which “springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.”

Central African Republic: Missionary collaborator dies in car explosion

A missionary collaborator is the sole victim of a mine that exploded when a car of the Catholic Mission of Niem drove over it. Locals suspect that the mine was probably set by rebels active in the region.

State Department allowing U.S. embassies to fly LGBT 'Pride' flags

U.S. embassy in Moscow displays LGBT "Pride" flag. Embassies will be allowed to fly the rainbow flag on the same flagpole as the U.S. flag. / hodim/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 20:00 pm (CNA).

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is allowing U.S. diplomatic posts around the world to fly the LGBT “Pride” flag on the same flagpole as the U.S. flag during “Pride season.”

In a cable first reported by Foreign Policy magazine on April 22, Blinken granted U.S. diplomatic outposts “blanket written authorization ... to display the Pride flag on the external-facing flagpole, for the duration of the 2021 Pride season.”

The authorization was given to fly the flag before May 17, which is observed as the international day against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia, Foreign Policy reported. June, during which embassies can also fly the “Pride” flag on the external flagpole, is celebrated as “Pride” month by people identifying as LGBT.

In 2019, U.S. embassies were reportedly prohibited from flying the “Pride” flag on embassy flagpoles, and had to obtain permission to do so. They were allowed to display the flag inside buildings. In his confirmation hearing in January, Blinken had promised to change that policy.

Earlier this week, the White House said that President Joe Biden has used “the bully pulpit” to promote “transgender rights.”

At last week’s address to a joint session of Congress, President Biden had told “transgender Americans” that “your President has your back.” When on May 4 asked how Biden might act on that promise in the future, White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded that he has already acted on it.

“He's also used the power of the bully pulpit in his presidency to convey that transgender rights are human rights,” Psaki said, noting that Biden also “has signed executive orders.”

In January, Biden signed an executive order interpreting sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. He said his administration’s “policy” would be to extend federal civil rights protections to these two classes.

Legal experts said the order was far-reaching and would affect the privacy of single-sex spaces such as women’s locker rooms and shelters, and could result in legal action against religious Americans who oppose the redefinition of marriage and transgender ideology.

Psaki added that Biden “expects” this policy in his order to be put into practice by his administration, “ensuring that transgender youth have the opportunity to play sports, and to be treated equally in states across the country.”

Blinken’s cable on “Pride” flags also advised diplomatic posts in certain countries to avoid flying the rainbow flag if doing so would create a backlash.

“Posts should support efforts to repeal [criminalization] legislation, while ensuring that ‘do no harm’ remains our overarching principle so U.S. efforts do not inadvertently result in backlash or further marginalization of the LGBTQI+ community,” the cable read.

At his confirmation hearing in January, Blinken also said that appointing a top diplomatic official on LGBT issues, the LGBTI Special Envoy, is “a matter, I think, of some real urgency.” The position currently remains vacant.

On May 4, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s picks for ambassador roles should represent the whole country, including people identifying as LGBTQ.

She noted that “the President looks to ensuring that the people representing him -- not just in the United States, but around the world -- represent the diversity of the country, and that certainly includes people who are LGBTQ, members of the transgender community.” 

Legislators urge Biden to address global religious persecution

mdgn/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 19:00 pm (CNA).

A bipartisan group of members of Congress asked President Biden this week to prioritize responding to global religious persecution.

“Religious freedom, one of the most basic human rights for all people, has historically been an area of sincere bipartisan support and agreement in American foreign policy,” stated a May 4 letter by members of both the House and Senate to President Biden.

The May 4 letter was led by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.). The members were joined by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), as well as Reps. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

“The United States is a beacon of hope and freedom, and we must continue to be a leader in calling attention and responding to religious persecution wherever it occurs,” they stated.

Citing the Pew Research Center’s annual study of global religious restrictions and persecution, the legislators called the current state of international religious persecution a “crisis.” 

They noted persecution of “the Rohingya in Burma, mass imprisonment and exploitation of Uyghurs and other faith groups by the Chinese government, and the ISIS genocide against Yazidis and Christians in Syria and Iraq” to emphasize the urgency of promoting religious freedom abroad.

The members called on Biden to fill vacant positions in his administration that are charged with promoting international religious freedom. 

In particular, they urged Biden to appoint an “experienced, well-qualified Ambassador-at-Large leading the International Religious Freedom office within the State Department.” 

Such an appointment, they said, “is vital” to the agency’s “success” in promoting international religious freedom, countering religious persecution, and engaging with governments, religious leaders, NGOs, and civil society.

The coalition of legislators also asked Biden to appoint a Director of International Religious Freedom within the National Security Council. 

“Having a designated point person to coordinate among all components of the U.S. Government that work to advance religious freedom abroad is vital to the success of these initiatives,” they stated. 

In addition to filling the new positions, the legislators recommended the Biden administration pursue initiatives and actions to work with global allies on issues on religious freedom.

The members urged the administration to lead coalitions of actors in government, civil society, and foreign nations to create initiatives that protect religious freedom. 

The letter said that because of China’s hostility towards religious groups in particular, the U.S. has an obligation to respond. 

“China’s hostility toward religion and people of faith extends to Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and Christians, some of whom are unjustly imprisoned for their faith, such as Pastor John Cao,” the letter said.

The members argued that U.S. engagement was integral to the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was imprisoned in Turkey for more than two years. The legislators added that because of the prioritization of religious freedom, the U.S. has been able to “defend Coptic Christians in Egypt, denounce anti-conversion laws in India, and draw attention to the alarming rise in anti-Semitism in Europe.”

The coalition of legislators said they hope the administration “will work on a bipartisan basis with Congress to advance these policy items and prioritize the right of all people to have a faith, live their faith, change their faith or have no faith at all.”

General Audiences with the presence of the faithful to resume on May 12

Beginning on Wednesday, 12 May, Pope Francis’ General Audiences will be open once again to in-person participation of the faithful.

Catholic University receives $20 million donation for nursing school 

Credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The Catholic University of America has received a $20 million donation to assist 160 nursing students at its nursing school over the next five years. 

According to the university, the $20 million donation was made by Bill and Joanne Conway, the two largest benefactors to the university in its history. The Conways had previously donated $60 million to the Conway School of Nursing, named after them in 2019 in recognition of their generosity. 

“Our Conway School of Nursing has long been a source of great pride to the University. We are so grateful to Bill and Joanne for all they have done to contribute to its success,” said Catholic University of America President John Garvey. “I am confident that the Conway School will become the gold standard for nursing education in this country.”

The Conways’ previous gifts of $20 million in 2019 and in 2020 were the largest single gifts in the school’s history. 

Currently, there are 48 “Conway Scholars” on campus who are receiving tuition assistance thanks to their previous gifts. The first group of Conway Scholars enrolled at the Catholic University of America in fall 2013, and are now working as nurses in 16 hospitals in a variety of specialties.

Patricia McMullen, dean of the Conway School said that the Conways have enabled students to achieve their dreams of entering the nursing field. 

“This imprimatur distinguishes them amongst their peers,” she said. “It motivates and guides them. Each will serve tens of thousands of patients throughout their careers, providing the superlative, compassionate care that is the hallmark of a Conway School graduate.”

“Thanks to the Conways and their Bedford Falls Fund, 82 student nurses have already received full or partial tuition scholarships,” the university stated in a press release. 

The Conway Scholarship provides more than just tuition assistance to aspiring nurses, the university said.  

“The generosity of the Conways has allowed Catholic to provide these students with housing and stipends to complete internships, as well as preparation and review courses for the National Council Licensure Examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, which graduates must pass to be certified as registered nurses,” said the press release. 

“To date, every Conway Scholar has passed the exam during their first sitting; the national average for the same data set is 80%.” 

The Conways have been supporting nursing programs in the D.C. area since 2008, and seek to address the coming nursing shortage in the United States. 

“The quality of the nursing students at Catholic University is outstanding,” said Bill Conway. “With the increasing need for nurses nationwide, we are thrilled with the impact graduates are having in health settings here in Washington, D.C., and all over the country.”

Bill, who is a trustee of the Catholic University of America, along with Joanne, were each awarded honorary degrees from the school in 2017. 

Charleston diocese dismayed at South Carolina legislature’s attempt to resume executions

Fer Gregory/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

The Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, expressed its dismay Thursday after the state House passed a bill effectively allowing the state to resume executions.

The legislation, passed by the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, permits the state to execute death row inmates by electrocution if the drugs used for lethal injection are not available. The bill also allows inmates to choose death by firing squad as a method of execution. 

Previously, lethal injection was the default method of execution in South Carolina. The state has not executed anyone since 2011, when its supply of drugs used for lethal injection expired. Countries that produce the drugs used in executions have refused to sell them to states for executions.

The state was unable to move forward with executions where death row inmates had chosen to die by lethal injection, according to CNN. The bill passed on Wednesday only allows for death by lethal injection when the state is able to procure the necessary drugs.

“We are extremely disappointed that a bill reinstating access to the death penalty passed the S.C. House of Representatives today and will advance to the governor's desk for signature,” said Maria Aselage, a spokeswoman for the diocese, in a statement on May 5. 

"Every person is created in the likeness of God; their lives should be protected from the time of conception until natural death,” she said. “It is time for our state to abolish the death penalty, not to find new ways to execute our brothers and sisters, including by firing squad."

Under the proposed bill, lethal injection remains an option for execution, but only if the state were able to procure the drugs needed.

An earlier version of the bill passed in the Senate back in March. The South Carolina House of Representatives voted 66-43 to pass the legislation, sending it to Gov. Henry McMaster (R) who has said he will sign it. 

There are currently 37 people on death row awaiting execution in the state, including three inmates who have exhausted all appeals. 

Three other states - Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah - also permit the use of the firing squad in executions. 

The last person in the United States to be executed by firing squad was convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner, in 2010.vGardner, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, said that the firing squad was consistent with his “Mormon heritage” under the religion’s controversial doctrine of “blood atonement.”  

Utah is the only state to have executed individuals with the firing squad since the death penalty was re-established in 1977. 

EWTN’s Warsaw: Biden’s support for abortion, 'transgenderism,' ‘couldn’t be more disappointing’

Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network / EWTN

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 11:00 am (CNA).

The head of the EWTN media network said that President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office “couldn’t be more disappointing,” due to his policies contradicting the Church’s teachings on human life and sexuality.

“Sadly, during the second Catholic president’s brief time in the Oval Office, Biden’s policies show he intends to govern in complete opposition to fundamental Church teachings regarding human life and sexuality, despite his spokeswoman’s continual professions of the centrality of the president’s Catholic faith,” EWTN board chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw wrote in an April 30 publisher’s note in the National Catholic Register.

President Biden reached 100 days in office on April 29. He is only the second Catholic president in U.S. history.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s assertions that Biden is a “devout” or “practicing” Catholic” give problematic cover to the president’s “radical” policies on abortion and “LGBT” issues, Warsaw wrote.

“As Catholic commentator Fran Maier recently pointed out during a conference at Villanova University, ‘Biden’s rosary beads, his public nods to saints, and his attendance at Mass all serve to normalize his administration’s policies and actions that directly attack key Catholic beliefs on abortion, sex, family and marriage,’” Warsaw said.

Biden’s administration has acted to promote abortion and the “LGBT” agenda with surprising “haste and intensity,” Warsaw said of the president’s first 100 days.

Just eight days after he was inaugurated, Biden issued an executive order repealing the Mexico City Policy, and allowing for U.S. global health assistance to once again flow to international NGOs that perform or promote abortions.

“The move flouted repeated reminders from the U.S. bishops about how his [Biden’s] pro-abortion commitments conflict with the Church’s clear teaching about this preeminent moral issue of our time,” Warsaw wrote, “as well as Pope Francis’ repeated warnings about ‘modern forms of ideological colonization,’ including the exportation of a progressive agenda against the unborn.”

Biden – a Catholic president – enabled taxpayer funding of pro-abortion groups, and made U.S. Catholics complicit in such funding, Warsaw said.

“With the stroke of a pen, our nation’s Catholic president forced his fellow Catholics, and other Americans who abhor abortion on the grounds of their faith-based belief in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, to violate their consciences by making them complicit in funding the international abortion lobby,” Warsaw wrote.

Biden has also appointed Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, “a Catholic politician who dissents on abortion even more flagrantly than the president,” Warsaw noted.

The administration has already repealed a pro-life rule, allowing Title X federal family planning funding to go to clinics that refer for abortions and further requiring recipients to provide abortion counseling.

“Planned Parenthood will be by far the biggest beneficiary of the Title X money that is now poised to flood into the abortion industry,” Warsaw wrote.

The administration also allowed federally-funded research with aborted fetal tissue to resume at National Institutes of Health (NIH) facilities. It revoked an ethics advisory board set up by the Trump administration to review proposals for federally-funded fetal tissue research conducted outside NIH facilities.

“In effect, this move gives a green light to the evil trade in abortion-derived human body parts,” Warsaw said.

Biden has also contradicted Church teaching on sexuality by going “all-in for promotion of ‘transgenderism’ and other central elements of the ‘LGBT’ agenda,” Warsaw wrote.

The president issued an executive order upon taking office that redefined sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” Biden stated it was the policy of his administration to uphold federal civil rights protections against sex discrimination, and to extend the protections to these other classes.

“Along with facilitating destructive ‘gender-reassignment’ medical procedures — including for minors — and compromising women’s sports by allowing competition by biological males who identify as female, legal scholars warn that Biden’s policies will inevitably transgress against the conscience rights of Catholics and others who reject gender ideology,” Warsaw wrote.

Biden’s flurry of activity on these issues is an “aggressive and highly partisan mode of governance” that “flagrantly contradicts the central promise he made in his inaugural address — to govern as a unifier, not a divider,” Warsaw wrote.

In response to these policies, Catholics now “have a double responsibility at this political moment,” Warsaw wrote.

“We need to highlight how Biden’s policies and actions in these areas are harming all Americans. We also need to highlight how they are undermining the Church, by making it seem that it’s possible to remain authentically Catholic while dissenting so fundamentally on such key moral issues,” he said.

EWTN Global Catholic Network is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 300 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories.

EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the largest Catholic websites in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, The National Catholic Register newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.

 

 

The head of the EWTN media network said that President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office “couldn’t be more disappointing,” due to his policies contradicting the Church’s teachings on human life and sexuality.

“Sadly, during the second Catholic president’s brief time in the Oval Office, Biden’s policies show he intends to govern in complete opposition to fundamental Church teachings regarding human life and sexuality, despite his spokeswoman’s continual professions of the centrality of the president’s Catholic faith,” EWTN board chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw wrote in an April 30 publisher’s note in the National Catholic Register.

President Biden reached 100 days in office on April 29. He is only the second Catholic president in U.S. history.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s assertions that Biden is a “devout” or “practicing” Catholic” give problematic cover to the president’s “radical” policies on abortion and “LGBT” issues, Warsaw wrote.

“As Catholic commentator Fran Maier recently pointed out during a conference at Villanova University, ‘Biden’s rosary beads, his public nods to saints, and his attendance at Mass all serve to normalize his administration’s policies and actions that directly attack key Catholic beliefs on abortion, sex, family and marriage,’” Warsaw said.

Biden’s administration has acted to promote abortion and the “LGBT” agenda with surprising “haste and intensity,” Warsaw said of the president’s first 100 days.

Just eight days after he was inaugurated, Biden issued an executive order repealing the Mexico City Policy, and allowing for U.S. global health assistance to once again flow to international NGOs that perform or promote abortions.

“The move flouted repeated reminders from the U.S. bishops about how his [Biden’s] pro-abortion commitments conflict with the Church’s clear teaching about this preeminent moral issue of our time,” Warsaw wrote, “as well as Pope Francis’ repeated warnings about ‘modern forms of ideological colonization,’ including the exportation of a progressive agenda against the unborn.”

Biden – a Catholic president – enabled taxpayer funding of pro-abortion groups, and made U.S. Catholics complicit in such funding, Warsaw said.

“With the stroke of a pen, our nation’s Catholic president forced his fellow Catholics, and other Americans who abhor abortion on the grounds of their faith-based belief in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, to violate their consciences by making them complicit in funding the international abortion lobby,” Warsaw wrote.

Biden has also appointed Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, “a Catholic politician who dissents on abortion even more flagrantly than the president,” Warsaw noted.

The administration has already repealed a pro-life rule, allowing Title X federal family planning funding to go to clinics that refer for abortions and further requiring recipients to provide abortion counseling.

“Planned Parenthood will be by far the biggest beneficiary of the Title X money that is now poised to flood into the abortion industry,” Warsaw wrote.

The administration also allowed federally-funded research with aborted fetal tissue to resume at National Institutes of Health (NIH) facilities. It revoked an ethics advisory board set up by the Trump administration to review proposals for federally-funded fetal tissue research conducted outside NIH facilities.

“In effect, this move gives a green light to the evil trade in abortion-derived human body parts,” Warsaw said.

Biden has also contradicted Church teaching on sexuality by going “all-in for promotion of ‘transgenderism’ and other central elements of the ‘LGBT’ agenda,” Warsaw wrote.

The president issued an executive order upon taking office that redefined sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” Biden stated it was the policy of his administration to uphold federal civil rights protections against sex discrimination, and to extend the protections to these other classes.

“Along with facilitating destructive ‘gender-reassignment’ medical procedures — including for minors — and compromising women’s sports by allowing competition by biological males who identify as female, legal scholars warn that Biden’s policies will inevitably transgress against the conscience rights of Catholics and others who reject gender ideology,” Warsaw wrote.

Biden’s flurry of activity on these issues is an “aggressive and highly partisan mode of governance” that “flagrantly contradicts the central promise he made in his inaugural address — to govern as a unifier, not a divider,” Warsaw wrote.

In response to these policies, Catholics now “have a double responsibility at this political moment,” Warsaw wrote.

“We need to highlight how Biden’s policies and actions in these areas are harming all Americans. We also need to highlight how they are undermining the Church, by making it seem that it’s possible to remain authentically Catholic while dissenting so fundamentally on such key moral issues,” he said.

EWTN Global Catholic Network is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 300 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories.

EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the largest Catholic websites in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, The National Catholic Register newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.

Swedish hospital praised for halting gender-transitioning for children under 16

Juanje Garrido/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 08:15 am (CNA).

Swedish doctors will no longer prescribe hormones or drugs to halt or delay puberty for children under the age of 16 as part of gender-transitioning procedures. 

The Karolinska University Hospital, which treats minors with gender dysphoria, announced in March that as of April 1, 2021, they would not be providing “puberty blocking” drugs or cross-sex hormones to children under the age of 16. The decision was reported in English-speaking media on May 5.

A statement from the hospital, translated from Swedish, cited concerns about long-term effects of the drugs and hormone procedures, as well as questions about the fully informed consent of patients under the age of 16. 

Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, praised the changes and called for additional protections for children with gender dysphoria. Anderson has authored a book critical of the transgender movement, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

“Prudent legislation is needed to prevent adults from interfering with a child’s normal, natural bodily development. ‘Gender affirmation’ procedures violate sound medical ethics,” Anderson told CNA on Wednesday. 

“These procedures are entirely experimental. There is not a single long-term prospective study of the long-term consequences of blocking an otherwise physically healthy child from undergoing normal pubertal development,” he said. 

The hospital’s statement cited the December 2020 Bell v. Tavistock decision, where the High Court of Justice for England and Wales found that it was “highly unlikely” that children under the age of 13 could give fully informed consent to receiving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones; the court added that it was “very doubtful” that children ages 14 and 15 could give full consent to the procedures. 

Minors between the age of 16 and 18 who wish to receive hormone treatments may do so only in clinical trial settings approved by an institutional review board, the hospital said. 

The hospital further stated that children with gender dysphoria will still be able to receive psychological and psychiatric care under the new policies. All minors currently receiving cross-sex hormonal treatments and puberty blockers will be assessed for future treatment, and should be informed as well as possible of the risks of gender-transitioning procedures, the hospital said.

Anderson claimed it is “profoundly unethical to intervene in the normal physical development of a child as part of ‘affirming’ a ‘gender identity’ at odds with bodily sex.”  

“While puberty-blocking drugs may be an appropriate treatment for precocious puberty—the early onset of puberty—in order to delay puberty to a biologically appropriate age, that is not what is going on here,” he said. “The use of puberty blockers to delay or permanently block natural biological puberty is unethical and violates the bodily integrity of children.”

Among the side effects reported by those who were prescribed Lupron, a prostate cancer drug that is also used to delay or halt puberty, include infertility, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. 

“Adults should not interfere with the natural, healthy development of the bodies and minds of children,” said Anderson, who added that “Children must be provided with the time and space to develop to maturity.”

This marks a departure from the “Dutch protocol” for treating minors with gender dysphoria. The protocol allows for certain preteen adolescents to be given drugs to halt or delay the progression of puberty, followed by the possible application of cross-sex hormones in their teen years. 

Prior to the new policy changes, Karolinska provided gender-transition procedures, including surgeries, to children and adults. In October 2019, a Swedish investigative television show reported that the hospital performed a double mastectomy on children as young as 14 years old.

Council of Cardinals reflects on life of Church in pandemic

The Council of Cardinals discuss the impact of the Covid-19 crisis around the world, and the Church's response to it, during a virtual meeting held on Thursday afternoon. The also continue talks on the upcoming Apostolic Constitution which will focus on the organisation of the Roman Curia.