Dr. Bob Onder testimony on the Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act

Missouri Senate testimony from Bob Onder, MD,JD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine @WashUSTL
Dear Friends and Supporters,
I had the opportunity to provide testimony today at the Missouri State Capitol. Please watch my video from above link. My notes on my testimony are here as well. As always, I welcome your thoughts!
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee,
For the record, Bob Onder, former Missouri State Senator representing District 2.  I am a medical doctor with a degree from Washington University Medical School, and I have worked extensively in clinical research.
Mr. Chairman, in the last century too often medical science has been twisted in the service of politics, with tragic results for patients.  The American eugenics movement, the politicization of psychiatry in the former Soviet Union, the Tuskegee syphilis experiments have in common that political goals and research interests were put ahead of the good of patients.  And we shudder to think that at one time frontal lobotomy was the treatment of choice for many with psychotic illness.
The remedy is to step back, put the patient first, and return to the ancient medical commandment: First, do no harm.
I have the deepest sympathy for young people with gender dysphoria and their families.  Children who experience gender dysphoria often have other struggles, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, or a history of trauma or abuse.  They need loving support, especially from their parents, and many need counseling or treatment for mental illness.
Gender dysphoria is not new.  Historically most cases were of adult men revealing that for many years, often decades, they felt that they were born in the wrong body.  Think Bruce, now Katlyn Jenner.  But in recent years there has been an explosion of what has been called “sudden onset gender dysphoria.” This has been more common in young girls, and often occurs in peer groups where multiple girls in a peer group will “come out” as transgender.  This seems to be driven at least in part by social media, the popular culture, and unfortunately a new obsession with gender ideology in many schools.  In these ways sudden onset gender dysphoria bears a striking likeness to other social contagions, such as anorexia nervosa, cutting, and even suicide.
These children need our love, care, and support, not potentially dangerous drugs and treatments.
There are 11 studies to date on rates of persistence of gender dysphoria from childhood into adolescence. All 11 showed the vast majority, 61 to 98%, of children will come to accept their birth sex by adolescence.
So-called “settled gender science” is neither settled, nor science.
Much of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, and WPATH recommendations are based on the so called Dutch study.  The Dutch study is biased, fatally flawed methodologically, and contradicted by numerous other data.  I’ve provided a good review of this issue.
None of the three organizations named have done systemic reviews of the literature.  But Sweden, Finland, the U.K., and the state of Florida have: all 4 reached the conclusion that their is no evidence that the benefits of hormonal treatments for treating gender dysphoria in children outweigh the risk.
Risks are many. Testosterone in girls permanently alters voice and other secondary sexual characteristics. Pain, bloating, depression, vaginal bleeding and tears. Assertions that puberty blockers are completely reversible are based on data from a very different clinical problem: precocious puberty.
I’m sure there will be discussion today about the revelations of the very courageous whistleblower Jamie Reed, about the abuses at the Washington University Pediatric Transgender Center.  Along with Senator Hawley and Attorney General Bailey, I call for a full investigation, and, if warranted, prosecutions and license revocations.  But regardless, Missouri should join the U.K., Finland, Sweden, and the state of Utah in protecting children from the dangerous experimentation being conducted on them.  Thank you.
Very Sincerely,
Dr. Robert F. (Bob) Onder, Jr.
Former Missouri State Senator District 2
Serving Western St. Charles County

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