Vol.273 March 15, 2022 Conversion Therapy, ACA update, & Medication Abortions

March 15, 2022

Although conversion therapy has been demonstrated to be ineffective, and often harmful, it is still being used in 2022,”
– Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, medical director of The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


Conversion therapy costs a lot and doesn’t work
Conversion therapy is the effort to change sexual orientation and gender identity through counseling/talk therapy in an attempt to convert lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ) individuals to be heterosexual and/or cisgender. It is a discredited practice (banned in 25 states) offered by licensed professionals or religious and spiritual advisors. 

A recent study published in Pediatrics (March 7, 2022) done by the Trevor Project* as reported in Forbes Magazine revealed that $650 million a year is spent on conversion therapy despite its discredited status. The study also estimated that $8.58 Billion (B) is the cost of the harms associated with conversion therapy;  suicide attempts and substance abuse account for half of that cost; fatal suicides, alcohol use, and depression account for the rest. 

Affirmative therapy is its opposite. It seeks to reaffirm rather than repair or change a person’s gender identity. Replacing conversion therapy with affirmative therapy would save $6.2 Billion (B) a year. Simply stopping conversion therapy would save $4.4 Billion (B). Nearly 700,000 LGBTQ+ adults (15-59 yo.) have undergone conversion therapy to date. An estimated 73,000 youths are at risk for this costly and ineffective method targeting LGBTQ+ people.

Dr. Olson-Kennedy, who was not involved in the study, said that it was “bothersome” that a study was needed to outline the financial burden of conversion therapy, “because the human toll is simply not enough to eradicate the dangerous practice of forcing individuals to conform to the heterosexual and cisgender normative expectation”.

Remember the ACA (2010)?
AKA Obamacare. As of January 15, 2022 more than 14.5 million Americans in 2021 signed up for subsidized health coverage through federal (33) or states’ (17) marketplaces created under the ACA . This breaks the previous enrollment record by 2 million. The marketplaces offer health insurance to those who can not get affordable coverage through a job. The ACA stopped the health insurance companies from surcharging and denying coverage of pre-existing medical conditions for marketplace-eligible people.  Almost 3 million obtained medical coverage through a special extended open enrollment period created by the Biden administration for the pandemic. Also, the coronavirus relief law passed by Congress in March 2021 expanded federal subsidies for ACA health plans for the first time since 2014.  – BosGlobe/WashPost, Jan. 28, 2022

But, 3/10 Americans have recently skipped medical care because they couldn’t afford it. – Harper’s List, March 2022

Another kind of record is broken
More kids got killed by guns in 2020 than in any other year, and 2021’s toll is looking higher. That’s 2,200 kids in 2020 to be exact, or 6 kids a day -WashPost Jan. 12, 2022

More than half of U.S. abortions are accomplished with two pills
In 2020 54% of pregnancy terminations were a result of women taking two pills, a method authorized by the FDA in 2016 for pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestation. This compares to 39% in 2017. The increase in this non-invasive, non-surgical method, called “medication abortion”, is thought to be partly due to the pandemic and the lifting of the FDA’s requirement that the pills have to be dispensed in person from a medical provider, even though women could take the pills home and swallow them without a provider present. Qualified pharmacies, in addition to approved clinics, can now dispense the medications by prescription.  –NEJM, 386:8, Feb. 24, 2022

A response in at least 19 states has been proposed laws regulating medical practice by banning tele-medicine visits for medication abortion or by limiting the use of the medications to only gestations of 7 weeks. The Texas Senate Bill 8 (the “heart beat” bill) not only bars abortion after detection of fetal cardiac activity (about 6 weeks by ultrasound and 10 weeks by audible beat), but it also offers a $10,000 reward to any private citizen who reports anyone “who knowingly aids or abets” in the performance of a prohibited abortion. “It makes anyone who helps a pregnant woman get an abortion – physician, nurse, friend, or relative – vulnerable to being sued.” In March 2022 the Texas Supreme Court agreed that the state government has no enforcement role in the abortion ban, so it cannot be sued in a challenge to the law by abortion providers, and that the law can be enforced “only by civil litigation”,ie. by a private citizen. A legal commentator referred to it as “vigilante in-justice”. -NEJM 385:16 , Oct. 2021

These medications have been used to terminate pregnancies safely in other countries for over 20 years. Medication abortion may in fact become the 100% method since a separate report in the same journal notes that only 21% of Ob/Gyn residency graduates are competent in doing a dilation and evacuation (“D&C”) procedure, the surgical method of abortion.

COVID vaccination effectiveness in adolescents
Two doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine was 94% effective in preventing hospitalization and 98% effective in preventing ICU admissions in 12-18 year olds hospitalized with covid in this study of 31 hospitals in 23 states. Of the 1222 patients there were only 4 deaths, all unvaccinated youths. A disturbing figure from the study was that of the 777 adolescents hospitalized for non-covid problems (the control group) only 36% were fully vaccinated in “sharp contrast to rates of more than 95% for routine pediatric vaccinations”. – NEJM 386:8 , Feb. 24, 2022

*The Trevor Project is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.

%d bloggers like this: