Systematic Reviews of Gender Transition Treatments, Explained

Testosterone treatment. (Photo by Rory Doyle for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, North Carolina became the 22nd state to restrict gender transition treatments for minors after both Republican-controlled legislative chambers passed a bill to prohibit “surgical gender transition procedures on minors and prescribing, providing, or dispensing puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones to minors.”

The near-party-line veto override of Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, comes two weeks after the board of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) voted to authorize a systematic review of such treatments—while also reaffirming a 2018 policy statement that calls for health insurance plans to cover “medical, psychological, and, when indicated, surgical gender-affirming interventions.” 

The AAP’s review “reflects the board’s concerns about restrictions to access to health care with bans on gender-affirming care in more than 20 states,” it announced

But health authorities in Europe have already conducted systematic reviews over the last five years—which have prompted many countries to change their policies and curtail access to such treatments except in rare cases. Could a similar scenario play out in the U.S.?

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