LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The final day in the trial against the Arkansas ban on transgender youth healthcare has come to a close.
On Thursday, the state called its final witness to the stand: Dr. Paul Rhuz, who is a Pediatric Endocrinologist. Dr. Rhuz works in a field of medicine that studies disorders of hormone action.
While Dr. Rhuz said he does not prescribe puberty blockers for gender dysphoria, he said he does prescribe them for central precocious puberty, which is when a person experiences biological changes from childhood to adulthood in reproductive capacity at too early of an age.
The goal of the treatment is to slow down puberty so children will wait to go through this change until they are in the right age range.
Dr. Rhuz went on to explain the risks of puberty blockers when taken too long. The main reaction he said tends to be on bone mineral density. This creates the risk of things like osteoporosis later in life. Additionally, it can lead to mood changes and increased pressure in the brain.
Dr. Rhuz also explained the adverse reactions to cross-sex hormones.
He said there is not enough evidence to prove to him that the benefits of both puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones outweigh the risks.
“One cannot make a conclusion that this is justified as a safe and effective long-term solution to gender dysphoria in consideration of significant risks,” Dr. Rhuz said.
Dr. Rhuz also said he is just one of many doctors nationwide who feel this way.
“As far as my colleagues, I think there are many who share my concern about how its being used in the treatment of gender dysphoria”
Cross-examination by the ACLU focused on Dr. Rhuz’s background in studying gender dysphoria and trans healthcare, specifically bringing up his research and briefs that have been published which include controversial wording.
According to the ACLU, the publisher of one of Dr. Rhuz’s briefs was a religious outlet. Another brief written by the doctor was in support of a professor who objected to a requirement that faculty and staff address students according to preferred pronouns
The ACLU also asked Dr. Rhuz if he has ever diagnosed a patient for gender dysphoria or treated a patient for gender dysphoria, to which he said no.
The fate of the law banning trans youth healthcare is now in the hands of Judge Moody, which could take several weeks for a decision.