Planned Parenthood has found a new niche that could prove nearly as controversial as providing abortions: helping transgendered people through the sex-change process.
In the wake of last summer’s undercover videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials selling baby body parts for money – which is illegal – legislators in several states have looked for ways to deny funding to the women’s health giant.
While Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing, they have stopped accepting reimbursements for providing fetal parts to researchers. However, the gender reassignment process may enable the organization to make up the lost cash by other means.
"Whether you're transgender or cisgender, you can visit your local Planned Parenthood health center for STD testing, birth control, physical exams, other sexual and reproductive health services, and referrals," the organization's website says. "Some Planned Parenthood health centers are able to offer hormone treatments for trans people."
But Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told FoxNews.com the most severe backlash may not come from Americans who find the practice “bizarre,” but rather down the road “from clients who recognize this was not in their best interest.”
That’s because Planned Parenthood only requires prospective patients to provide “consent for services,” according to the Mar Monte Planned Parenthood website. According to the Standards of Care manual designed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, anyone seeking a change should first be examined by a mental health professional to “assess clients’ gender dysphoria.”
Currently, 32 Planned Parenthood centers in 10 states – California, Colorado, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington – offer the hormone treatments. There could be more on the way. The organization’s Tumblr account described “an increasing number of Planned Parenthood health centers” that offer the service.
While most patients must be at least 18 to give consent and begin treatments, there are some exceptions made for “younger patients” with “a parent or guardian’s permission,” according to the Mar Monte site.
“I’m concerned about young people,” Sprigg said. “We’re seeing an increasing trend with minors, children being given puberty-blocking hormones to prevent them from going through the typical process of puberty in order to make it easier for them to transition to the opposite sex.”
Planned Parenthood currently only offers hormone therapy by administering drugs such as estrogen or testosterone. They don’t assist in the surgical aspects of a sex change. Still, the typical course of medications can last up to three years and cost patients $1,500 per year.
Attempts to contact Planned Parenthood were not returned, but public financial figures show that the hormone treatments currently account for less than one percent of the organization’s $1.3 billion revenue.
The organization’s mission statement is based around helping individuals “manage his or her fertility.” But it’s unclear how aiding sex changes contribute to that goal.
“It’s not necessarily a logical connection,” Sprigg said. “We think of it as providing contraceptives and abortions, dealing with people who don’t want to have children or have more children – and this doesn’t fit into that.
“But this illustrates how Planned Parenthood, rather than providing specific services, is kind of the central clearinghouse for the sexual revolution in all respects. And that’s come to include having sex without the consequence of pregnancy and also the freedom to change one’s sex if you choose.”