Health care provider organizations have asked the Department of Justice to investigate persistent threats to patients and doctors who seek care and provide gender-affirming care.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Association of Children’s Hospitals wrote joint letter Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday asking him to investigate the growing number of threats against hospitals, doctors and patients.
The requests come amid a wave of political and violent threats against gender-affirming childcare facilities.
The Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts has been harassed for weeks, including a bomb threat. Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, has been the subject of a conservative media campaign alleging that its LGBTQ clinic “maims” children. Republican Tennessee lawmakers are stepping up accusations and calling for an investigation into the transgender hospital’s medical offerings. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) recently signed a bill that would make OU Health, one of the largest health care systems in Early State, ineligible for government distribution of federal COVID-19 aid funding because it provided gender-affirming procedures for youth . In response, OU Health announced that it would be discontinuing services.
As a result, threats to hospitals and the doctors who work in them have increased.
“From Boston to Akron [Ohio] from Nashville to Seattle, children’s hospitals, academic health systems and physicians are being threatened for providing evidence-based care,” the provider groups said in a letter. “These attacks not only made it difficult and dangerous to provide such assistance to institutions and practices, but also disrupted many other services for families seeking help.”
Hospitals have had to initiate lockdowns due to bomb threats, substantially increase the security of facilities and clinicians facing death threats, and even move in-person appointments to virtual visits to protect patients and staff.
“Whether newborns receiving intensive care, children receiving cancer treatment, or families receiving compassionate care for their transgender adolescents, all patients who seek treatment deserve to receive the care they need without fear for their personal safety.” , – President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Moira Silaji. says in a press release. “We cannot stand by as threats of violence against our members and their patients multiply without much consequence.”
The groups also called on major tech companies to take action against online hate speech and misinformation about gender-affirming messages. The AMA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Association of Children’s Hospitals want Twitter, TikTok, and parent company Facebook Meta to better coordinate against gender-affirming care-related misinformation and remove institution-specific violent language.
The threats to Boston Children’s Hospital came after the conservative Libs of TikTok account tweeted a video of a doctor talking about a sex-verified hysterectomy. The account, which has 1.4 million followers, claimed that the hospital performed these surgeries on minors, a claim that Boston Children’s Hospital denies.
Libs of TikTok posts stay on Twitter. The social network suspended the account for seven days for hate speech, which ended this week. The account has since targeted a clinic offering gender-affirming care at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine.
In Nashville, Matt Walsh of the conservative Daily Wire website published an article alleging that Vanderbilt University Medical Center was profiting by “mutilating” children. The report led to calls for an investigation into the academic medical center by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) and overwhelming Republicans in the state legislature. This opinion was supported by TV presenter Tucker Carlson, whose late-night show is watched by approximately 4.5 million people.
“As physicians, we condemn groups that promote hate-motivated bigotry and toxic misinformation that can lead to serious real-world violence and extremism and compromise patient health outcomes,” AMA President Jack Reznek Jr. said in a press release..