After 20 states, including South Dakota, banned “gender affirming care” for minors due to a lack of medical research and a litany of other issues, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has finally decided to take another look at this harmful practice. 

The AAP, historically a staunch supporter of “gender affirming care” (GAC) for minors, took a “half step back” in their latest report and recognized the need for deeper research in this underdeveloped field. The AAP commissioned a systematic review of medical research on GAC treatments, acknowledging that the “treatments are relatively new, and few studies have tracked their long-term effects.” They also admitted that the number of children identifying as transgender has rapidly increased in recent years, raising questions about how peer pressure and social influence are impacting childrens’ desire to “transition.”

GAC treatments include double mastectomies, genital surgeries, hysterectomies, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones. We already know through the available research that these treatments can, at minimum, cause sterilization, brain development issues, bone density loss, and more. With continued research, more detrimental side effects will undoubtedly surface.

Even socially progressive nations such as the U.K., Sweden, Norway, Finland, and France are calling “gender affirming care” for minors into question, with doctors around the world pointing to the available scientific evidence (or lack thereof) and the known risks associated with the procedures. Recent studies from the U.K. have shown 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.”

The overall conclusion from the available studies, both in the U.S. and abroad, shows that we don’t know what we don’t know about GAC procedures on minors – and it’s playing with fire to continue these treatments before the long-term consequences are studied in depth. The horror stories from adults who were allowed to “transition” as children and later realized they weren’t transgender after all are only beginning to surface on social media and in the news – but proponents of GAC aren’t taking their experiences seriously because it delegitimizes their agenda. Recent data from the U.S. and U.K. shows that anywhere between 10-30% of recently transitioned individuals detransition only a few years after they initiate the transition.

We’re proud that in South Dakota, children are already protected from “gender affirming care” procedures – child abuse disguised as healthcare. The “Help not Harm” bill, signed into law in early 2023, makes it illegal to perform or prescribe “gender transition” surgeries, cross-sex hormones, and puberty blockers to children. It also provides a pathway for individuals to collect damages later in life if they are harmed from transgender treatments and subjects doctors to review by the medical board for Unprofessional Conduct if they perform GAC surgeries or prescribe puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to minors. To learn more about the legislation, visit

“Gender affirming care” procedures have no place in pediatrics. We are encouraged by the AAP’s willingness to commission additional studies and further question these procedures, but we urge the association to call for a moratorium on all GAC procedures until more research is available – which will undoubtedly prove the treatments are not suitable for developing children.