Europe

High Court bars under-16 puberty blockers at transgender clinics in landmark case

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Keira Bell, 23, had the drugs aged 16, went on to “detransition” and then sued the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust – which runs the only UK gender identity development service for children. Outside court she said the judgment will protect vulnerable young people.

Keira added: “I wish it had been made before I embarked on the devastating experiment of puberty blockers. My life would be very different today.”

The ruling means it will be much harder for clinics to prescribe such drugs to the under-16s.

The legal challenge was also brought by Mrs A, the mum of a 15-year-old autistic girl currently on the waiting list for treatment.

Dame Victoria Sharp, sitting with Lord Justice Lewis and Mrs Justice Lieven, said: “It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.”

Mrs A said she hoped the case “will provide a safety net to prevent the unsupervised medical experimentation on children”.

Keira and Mrs A’s solicitor Paul Conrathe said the “historic” ruling was an “indictment of clinical practice at the Tavistock”.

The “disappointed” trust said it would seek permission to appeal.

It said the outcome “is likely to cause anxiety for patients and their families”.

Lui Asquith, from the trans children’s charity Mermaids, called it a “devastating blow” and “potential catastrophe”.

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