After passing a new policy, Oregonians can now attain gender affirmation surgery through the state's medical plans.
The issue sparked controversy after Fox News released an article noting that 15-year-olds in the state can now legally attain a sex change operation without the consent of their parents.
“It is trespassing on the hearts, the minds, the bodies of our children,” Lori Porter, a Parents' Rights in Education member, told Fox News. “They’re our children. And for a decision, a life-altering decision like that to be done unbeknownst to a parent or guardian, it’s mind-boggling.”
"To know that taxpayers are now on the hook for that, that a child can do that without their parent's knowledge or information or consent, parents have absolutely no say, that's appalling," Lisa Maloney, an Oregon parent, also told the news station.
The Fox News story may seem alarming, but it is based less on the new policy and more on a policy that has been in place since 1971 -- it was since that year, after all, that the age of medical consent in the state of Oregon has been 15.
“Age of medical consent varies by state,” Susan Wickstrom, the Oregon Health Authority spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Oregon law — which applies to both Medicaid and non-Medicaid Oregonians — states that the age of medical consent is 15.”
However, it was only early this year that Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) decided upon the policy to include Gender dysphoria in their list of medical conditions covered by the state’s Medicaid plan.
According to the policy, the state will cover a variety of procedures for those seeking to affirm their gender including “psychotherapy, medical visits, and medications to suppress puberty in gender questioning youth.”
HERC estimated that about 175 Oregonians will likely be covered by the plan when it is implemented.
Responding to concerns regarding the new plan, Jenn Burleton, the executive director of TransActive Gender Center, said that the idea of a teenager attempting to attain gender affirmation surgery without their parent’s consent or knowledge was unlikely.
“It’s irrational,” Burleton said, according to Snopes.com. “It’s laughable.”
A statement released by HERC addressed the issues that people might have with the policy.
“In Oregon, the age of medical consent is 15 or older," the statement reads. "Patients should be able to demonstrate the capacity to make a fully informed decision and to give consent to treatment, regardless of age.
“However, nothing in Oregon law requires a health care provider to provide medical services to a minor or safeguard the confidentiality of a minor. In most cases, providers will encourage (and in some cases require) family engagement and supports unless it would endanger the patient.”
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