COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — A viral tweet from a conservative research group claims patients as young as four years old in South Carolina have received gender-affirming care, like hormone therapy, through a state-funded hospital’s pediatric endocrinology clinic.
Over the weekend, the American Accountability Foundation tweeted an excerpt from a research report on the number of transgender youth who had visited the Medical University of South Carolina’s Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic. The report states the age range of patients that had visited the clinic for their first visits was between the ages of 4 to 18.
According to the report, 38% of patients didn’t receive endocrine medications. The rest of the patients received either puberty blockers or hormone-affirming therapy.
The authors of the report wrote about the benefits of offering gender-affirming care and said, “In the future, hopefully more patients and at younger ages will be referred to affirming providers so that medical options such as pubertal suppression and mental health support can be discussed with patients and families.”
Members of the conservative South Carolina Freedom Caucus said they were shocked by this.
“I just cannot wrap my mind around four, five, and six-years-old, I mean somebody even discussing this stuff with them,” Rep. Adam Morgan (R-Greenville) said.
Morgan said during an interview Monday afternoon they would be looking into this, “Let’s let kids be kids. Who are the adults in their lives pushing this woke, perverted discussions?”
Monday morning, hospital officials said the claims that youth as young as four years old received hormone therapy are false.
“This is not appropriate medical practice in pediatric endocrinology,” hospital officials said. “Children presenting with gender dysphoria and children with related psychological and behavioral issues do not receive hormone therapies before puberty.”
“How can they say these four, five, six year old’s aren’t receiving these treatments? We’ll find out,” Morgan said.
According to an MUSC spokesperson, the abstract in the original tweet was presented in 2021 and “does not reflect an official statement from MUSC leadership or about the current state of services the MUSC Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic provides to patients.”
Earlier this year, state lawmakers included a budget proviso that prohibited MUSC from using state money to fund or support the gender transition of a minor under 16. MUSC said they have taken steps to operate in compliance with this proviso.
LGBTQ advocates in South Carolina say gender-affirming care is essential for transgender youth and have spoken out against the budget proviso.