On February 14, Family Council sent a Freedom of Information Act Request to the University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) concerning hormone therapies and puberty suppressants.

Family Council requested the following from UAMS:

  1. Any and all information (including educational materials in any medium) made available within the past five years to patients or their parents/guardians concerning treatment with a hormone, hormone suppressant, and/or pubertal blocker for the following conditions:
    • Primary ovarian insufficiency
    • Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism
    • Turner syndrome
    • Precocious puberty
    • Endometriosis
    • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
    • Heavy or painful menstruation
    • Cancer
  2. Any and all information (including copies of blank consent forms) used within the past five years for the purpose of obtaining a patient’s or parent/guardian’s informed consent to treatment with a hormone, hormone suppressant, and/or pubertal blocker for the same conditions listed in 1. above.

In response, Leslie Taylor, Vice Chancellor of the Office of Communications & Marketing at UAMS, told us:

I have been in contact with the chair of OB/GYN as well as other physicians and clinic managers in that department. We do not have materials that we give to patients concerning the conditions described in your FOIA request. When patients present with those issues they are handled through discussions during the private patient appointment. We also do not have consent forms “for the purpose of obtaining a patient’s or parent/guardian’s informed consent to treatment with a hormone, hormone suppressant, and/or pubertal blocker for the same conditions.” Because we are an academic health care institution, our providers rely on evidence-based information. They sometimes refer patients to web sites where there is information on some of these conditions. The two sites that are primarily used are the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists https://www.acog.org/ and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine https://www.smfm.org/.  Three other sites where physicians have directed patients include the Endometriosis Association https://endometriosisassn.org/ & https://www.lupron.com/ or https://www.orilissa.com/hcp?cid=ppc_ppd_orilissahcp_ggl_brnd_10319&gclid=Cj0KCQiAmKiQBhClARIsAKtSj-kFtKTbnn4VHu-hDRkBaFl_X8lSPAtXLSsMJGB5GpxER8rmxdffd3waAg5fEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

In 2021 the Arkansas Legislature passed the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act.

The SAFE Act is an excellent law that protects children from sex-reassignment procedures, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones.

Researchers do not know the long term effects that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can have on kids.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never approved puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the purpose of gender transition. Doctors are giving these hormones to kids off-label, in a manner the FDA never intended.

That is part of the reason many experts agree that giving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children is experimental, at best.

Opponents of the SAFE Act have argued that the law makes it more difficult to use hormones to treat precocious puberty or similar conditions. However, the SAFE Act contains exceptions for these kinds of treatments, and it isn’t clear what protocol institutions like UAMS follows when patients suffer from these sorts of conditions — other than to refer them to information from other medical associations.

For what it is worth, UAMS operates a pro-transgender Gender Clinic that offers hormone replacement therapies and referrals for sex-change surgeries.

The ACLU and others filed a lawsuit against the SAFE Act last summer, before the law officially took effect, and a federal judge in Little Rock has temporarily blocked the state from enforcing it.

Several business interests and the Biden-Harris Administration also have joined the fight against Arkansas’ SAFE Act.

Arkansas’ Attorney General has appealed that order to the Eighth Circuit to let the state enforce the SAFE Act. A trial in the case is scheduled for the week of July 25, 2022.