New York is right to protect health care access

| 04 Aug 2023 | 02:01

    I’m writing in response to Tom Lapolla of Monroe, whose letter to the editor in last week’s edition expressed objection to New York State’s safe haven laws for parents and minors seeking gender affirmation health care.

    Mr. Lapolla has a right to hold and express his opinions (incidentally, I feel confident assuming Tom uses he/him pronouns, given his outlook). It does seem hyperbolic and a bit offensive to invoke Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who performed non-consensual medical experiments and vivisection on victims of the Holocaust.

    Gender-affirming health care has been widely reviewed and approved by global medical authorities including the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and many others.

    Gender affirming health care literally saves lives, especially of transgender teens and young adults, by dramatically reducing rates of suicide that should frighten anyone.

    And while many people assume such care involves surgery, the truth is that non-reversible treatments like surgery are almost never provided to minors. Even among transgender adults, only about one in four choose to undergo surgery.

    With all that said, Americans should not require extensive education to support the rights of others to access the health care they choose. For decades I’ve heard conservatives and Republicans claim they don’t want the government interfering in our health care decisions.

    I’ve heard that the rights of parents to make choices for their children should be sacrosanct.

    What happens to those values when the topic is gender-affirming health care? Why are the so-called “blue states” like New York forced to welcome health care refugees from states that have put politicians ahead of medical professionals?

    If we are to live in a free country, we shouldn’t need to understand or approve of our neighbors’ health care choices. We cannot use the government as a tool to enforce our preferred social order.

    People like Mr. Lapolla have a right to their opinions, but not to overrule patients, parents, and medical professionals about what health care is available.

    Christopher Keelty

    Warwick Village