Common Sense Returns, Finally: UK courts have overturned the Bell v. Tavistock (poor) decision


In December 2020, courts in the UK inexplicably and incompetently ruled that hormones were “experimental” and thus should be denied to Transgender children in the UK.  TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots cheered and rubbed their hands with glee at the thought of en masse suicides.

The original decision was a fiction and based on a falsehood.  The anti-Trans bigots found a single “detranstion” case of a teen, and (mis)used that individual as the tool of their agenda.  They made the false argument that one case of one person “detransitioning” meant that all Transgender children should be denied medical care that would save their lives.

They falsely inferred that treatment was “forced onto children” as if doctors were performing experiments on unwilling patients.  Hormone replacement therapy is not permanent, it can be reversed, so any claim of “harm” from HRT is a lie.  But the harm from undergoing unwanted bodily changes IS a source of harm to Transgender children.

The decision was reversed based on the Gillick Principle, that children who are aware can and should be part of their own medical decisions. The right for Transgender children to obtain care is no different than children wanting to be vaccinated or receive blood transfusions in defiance of their parents or others with legal custody.  A child’s health should come first before ideology, religion, or anything else.

Mermaids UK, a charity that helps Transgender children, has issued a statement in response to the decision and the ruling being overturned.

Mermaids statement on the Bell v Tavistock appeal

The Court of Appeal has today told the High Court that it got Bell v Tavistock wrong. Its judgment today overturns a judgment that the High Court made in December 2020. This is wonderful news following almost 10 months of huge difficulty.

Mermaids and most importantly the trans young people and their families that we represent are relieved that the Court of Appeal has today (Friday 17 September 2021) overturned the High Court’s decision from December 2020 that effectively barred trans young people from accessing life-saving medical treatment on the NHS unless they had a court order.

The decision today has reinstated the test of Gillick and re-emphasised that it is for the clinician together with the patient and the family to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. It was not for the court to make generalisations about consent at different ages, nor should the court be routinely part of the consent process for puberty blockers.

The Good Law Project also issued a statement:

Update from Court – The Bell v Tavistock appeal

Over the last two days, the Court of Appeal has heard submissions in relation to the decision made by the High Court in December regarding the ability of children under 16 with gender dysphoria to consent to treatment with puberty blockers.

Although the judges in the Appeal made clear that the High Court had not found illegality according to the terms of the initial claim (i.e. that children under the age of 16 could never meaningfully consent to treatment with puberty blockers; or that they were not being provided with the correct information to enable them to do so), the judges had issued a declaration and provided guidance in the judgment that has sown confusion and doubt in the minds of clinicians and patients as to the steps legally necessary for prescription.

Barristers for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust yesterday argued that in its decision the Divisional Court wrongly departed from what’s known as the Gillick principle of the capacity of a child to consent to treatment, and relied on unsubstantiated and improperly submitted evidence.

Fenella Morris QC representing the Trust emphasised the highly responsive and individualised consent checking processes which are applied when considering a referral for the consideration of puberty-blocking hormones. She also argued that the regulatory framework that governs such decisions is already both lawful and effective, in line with the principles set out in Gillick, and that a young person and their family should lawfully be supported by a clinical team to achieve informed consent, rather than requiring intervention by the Court.

The reversal means doctors will now be making medical decisions on a case by case basis (as they should be), and not by courts making sweeping judgements without concern for or endangering children’s health.

The question now is, will TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots like Rowling take the Scanners response to this?

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