Culture and the Family
Ray Carter | May 9, 2023
Brecheen, Lankford seek answers after experiments on children
U.S. Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Okla., and U.S. Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., are asking why the federal National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to spend millions of dollars on transgender youth studies after one recent NIH-funded study on the impact of cross-sex hormones on transgender youth involved the suicides of two participants even as 11 other subjects considered killing themselves.
“During this study, two young people died by suicide and eleven reported suicidal ideation,” Brecheen and Budd wrote in their May 9 letter to NIH officials. “Rather than shutting the study down after such serious adverse events, the researchers published their paper, concluding that the study was a success because cross-sex hormones had altered subjects’ physical appearance and improved psychosocial functioning. However, the researchers admitted that they were not able to properly establish causality between the administration of cross-sex hormones and improved psychosocial functioning because their study lacked a control group.”
The study, titled “Psychosocial Functioning in Transgender Youth after 2 Years of Hormones,” evaluated the psychosocial effects of cross-sex hormones on “transgender and nonbinary youth” and involved individuals between the ages of 12 and 20. Of the 315 subjects, 240 were minors.
In their letter, Brecheen and Budd noted that one of the participating clinics, Boston Children’s Hospital, had posted a video on its YouTube channel claiming that children can know their gender identity “from the womb.” (The clinic later took down the video.)
“It is alarming that vulnerable young people died by suicide while participating in a taxpayer-funded study that will almost certainly inflict devastating physical harm on those who participated.” —U.S. Rep. Josh Brecheen and U.S. Sen. Ted Budd
They also noted that another researcher involved in the study, Johanna Olson, “later received a federal grant for a study in which she altered protocol to allow children as young as 8 years old to receive cross-sex hormones.”
“Despite glaring shortfalls, this government-funded research is already being used to further the fallacy that chemically transitioning children is safe and effective,” Brecheen and Budd wrote. “It is alarming that vulnerable young people died by suicide while participating in a taxpayer-funded study that will almost certainly inflict devastating physical harm on those who participated.”
They noted that 24 participants in the study received cross-sex hormones after puberty suppression or “in early puberty” and “are likely sterile as a result,” and that all participants “are now at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, blood clotting, and a host of other complications” based on other research.
Brecheen and Budd noted research shows that “gender dysphoria in minors often resolves as they progress through puberty—completely undermining the idea that children should have their bodies permanently altered to match their changing identities.”
Yet, they noted, NIH is scheduled to provide more than $10.6 million “to experiment on children and adolescents through 2026.”
“We are deeply concerned about your agency’s use of taxpayer dollars to advance experiments on children who will be irreversibly harmed by radical gender ideology,” the lawmakers wrote.
Brecheen and Budd asked NIH to provide more information on the study, including whether the two participants who committed suicide were minors, what steps were taken to review the study after the suicides, if other participants were notified other subjects had killed themselves, and if NIH was taking steps to “evaluate the long-term physiological state of the subjects.” NIH officials were also asked to explain why six other subjects chose to withdraw from the study.
In addition to Brecheen and Budd, the letter was co-signed by 13 other lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City.
“It is sickening that the federal government is preying on young people and using our taxpayer dollars to advance its radical gender ideology,” Brecheen said. “We are rightfully demanding answers from NIH and we are committed to holding those responsible accountable for this tragic loss of life.”
Brecheen’s letter was released just eight days after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 613. That state law declares, “A health care provider shall not knowingly provide gender transition procedures to any child.” The law defines “gender transition procedures” to include surgical procedures that alter or remove physical or anatomical characteristics that are typical for the individual’s biological sex, or the provision of puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones.
SB 613 passed both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature by overwhelming margins.
The ACLU and similar organizations have since filed a lawsuit seeking to have SB 613 overturned.
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.