Monday Miscellany, 8/7/23

Monday Miscellany, 8/7/23 August 7, 2023

The American Academy of Pediatrics will revisit “gender affirmation care”; Republican candidates hide their church, while Democrats wear it on their sleeve; and Italy is banning the use of surrogate mothers.

American Academy of Pediatrics to Revisit “Gender Affirmation Care”

The board of the American Academy of Pediatrics has agreed to conduct an external review of their recommendations that children with gender dysphoria should be given hormone treatments and mutilative surgery.  Until the studies are completed happens, the AAP’s current standards for “gender affirmation care” will stand.

When similar reviews were carried out in European countries–including very progressive countries like the UK, France, Sweden, Norway, and Finland–physicians drastically restricted those radical treatments.

The studies demonstrating the inadequacy of the available data have already been done. The U.K. reviewed the evidence and found that not only is gender dysphoria often “transitory,” but the data in favor of material benefits from gender-affirming care is wanting, while the risks are abundantly clear. . . .

Not only that, but a detailed study of the available studies on the question found that the data does not support GAC in children. Then, there is the de-transition phenomenon.

Some 10%-30% of those who “transition” to a different sex, are now “detransitioning” a few years after the procedures, back to the sex of their birth.  But they can’t do anything about their pediatricians having subjecting them to masectomies, castrations, and sterilization.

Another point of interest is to see the headlines about this story in different media outlets.

Progressive Sources:  

The [London] Guardian:  Top US doctors’ group backs gender-affirming care amid rightwing attacks

Associated Press: Pediatricians’ group reaffirms support for gender-affirming care amid growing restrictions in GOP states

Fox NewsPotential ‘game-changer’: American Academy of Pediatrics reviewing support of youth gender treatments

The left-leaning media emphasized how the AAP reaffirmed their support for child “transitioning.”  If you read closely, you may see a reference to studying new research or such like.  Sometimes there is not even a mention of the outside review!

In the conservative-leaning media, on the other hand, the emphasis is all on the reviews, with the expectation that change is imminent.  To me, that seemed to be the “news” in the story.

The reality includes both the reaffirmation and the outside study.  The board is certainly committed to “gender affirming treatments,” but perhaps it will change its opinion, once the research is marshaled.  Then again, the outside experts chosen may hold to transgenderist ideology and ignore the scientific findings from the rest of the world.  We’ll have to see what happens.

Republican Candidates Hide Their Church, While Democrats Wear It On Their Sleeve

Mark Silk of the Religious News Service has made a curious observation in his story The Religious Evasiveness of GOP Presidential Candidates:  It’s a Long Tradition.

He points out that going way back, Republican presidential candidates have obscured what church they grew up in or belong to.  Eisenhower never brought up his Jehovah’s Witness roots.  Nixon didn’t like it to be known that he grew up a Quaker.  Ronald Reagan kept his membership in the liberal Disciples of Christ quiet, presenting himself as an evangelical.  So did the Episcopalian George H. W. Bush and the Methodist George W. Bush.  John McCain admitted that he was an Episcopalian but made it known that he attended a Baptist church.  Today, Ron DeSantis is a Catholic who presents himself as an evangelical.  Donald Trump grew up Presbyterian but now says he is “Nondenominational.”

Democrats, though, despite their current reputation as the less religious party, tend to be quite open about their denominational identity.  Jimmy Carter never hid that he was a Baptist, and, indeed, a Baptist Sunday School teacher.  Bill Clinton was far from being a moral conservative, either in his policies or his personal life, but he let everybody know that he was a Baptist.  Hillary Clinton played up her background as a Methodist social activist.  Barack Obama highlighted his involvement with the United Church of Christ, a mainline liberal denomination.  And Joe Biden flaunts his Catholicism, carrying his rosary and telling anecdotes about his Irish Catholicism, even as he defies what his church teaches about sexuality and the sacredness of life.

Why is this?  Well, obviously evangelicals have become a big part of the Republican base, so it’s understandable that candidates in that party would want to come across like them.

More deeply, and Silk doesn’t get into this, presidential candidates from both parties tend to come from our elite ruling class.  Evangelicals may sometimes have political power through the voting booth, but they are not of the ruling class, whose churches tend to be Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Mainline Protestant, and (more recently) Catholic.

Democrats used to have rural, working class roots, so being Baptist resonated with their voters.  Now, though, Democrats have become the party of the elite, and their candidates tend to be mainline liberal Protestants or liberal Catholics.  That is to say, Christian in that non-threatening, progressive,  non-evangelical kind of way.

Italy is Banning the Use of Surrogate Mothers

Italy is in the process of passing a bill that would criminalize the use of surrogate mothers.

Paying a woman to have one’s child–usually by artificial insemination or the implantation of a fertilized embryo–has actually been illegal in Italy for 20 years, but this bill goes further, imposing fines or prison sentences even if the procedure is carried out in a foreign country where it is legal.

Surrogacy, including the exploitation of women from poor countries to use as breeders, has become especially popular in the wake of same-sex marriages.

The new law, pushed by the new socially conservative Prime Minister Giorgia Miloni, has passed the lower house of parliament and is expected to pass the senate.

Breaking the bond between mother and child and reducing it to a commercial transaction involving contracts requiring women to sell their baby–yes, that should be illegal.




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