A challenge to a ruling allowing children with gender dysphoria to take puberty blockers without their parents’ consent as long as their doctor agrees will not reach Britain’s Supreme Court.
The decision announced May 5 by the Supreme Court marks an end to the high-profile case of Keira Bell, who brought a legal fight against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, the UK’s only gender identity development service for children.
Supreme Court Justices Lord Reed, Lord Sales, and Lord Stephens denied Bell permission to bring the case.
The announcement said the ruling would not be challenged at Britain’s highest court as it did not “raise an arguable point of law.”
“I made a brash decision as a teenager, as a lot of teenagers do, trying to find confidence and happiness, except now the rest of my life will be negatively affected,” Bell told the High Court in 2020.
But in 2021, judges at the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court ruling on the grounds that the court was “not in a position to generalise about the capability of persons of different ages to understand what is necessary for them to be competent to consent to the administration of puberty blockers.”
In their decision, three senior judges said it was up to doctors to “exercise their judgment” about whether their patients could properly consent, adding that the original decision “placed patients, parents, and clinicians in a very difficult position.”
A spokesperson for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said: “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision. We are proud of our hardworking, caring, and thoughtful colleagues in GIDS (gender identity development service). They and the patients they support will be relieved by the end of this period of uncertainty.”
In response to the news, Bell said she was disappointed in the decision but “delighted at what has been achieved as a result of this case.”
“We have shone a light on the murky practices of one of the greatest medical scandals of the modern era,” she added.
“As the court has recognised, trans children should be able to choose and receive the healthcare they need on the same basis as all other children,” she added.