A Colorado children’s hospital has stopped offering transition-related surgeries for transgender patients 18 and older,a hospital spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. The hospital said it never provided such surgeries for minors.
Rachael Fowler, a spokesperson for Children’s Hospital Colorado, said in a statement to NBC News that, due to “unprecedented referrals,” the hospital “made the difficult decision to no longer provide gender-affirming surgical procedures for adult patients 18 years of age and older.”
Fowler added that the hospital is working with patients to refer them to other facilities that still provide these surgeries. She added that, “Threats to children’s hospitals across the nation did not drive our decision.”
Children’s Hospital Colorado, through its TRUE Center for Gender Diversity, will continue to provide nonsurgical gender-affirming care for both minors and patients who have recently turned 18. This care includes hormone therapy, gender counseling and nutrition services, according to the center’s website.
LGBTQ advocates in the state expressed concern over the hospital’s decision.
“The precedent that they’re setting is dangerous,” Ruby Lopez, an advocate with OutBoulder, told KUSA-TV, an NBC affiliate in Denver. “My fear is that other hospitals are also going to follow suit.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat and one of just three openly LGBTQ governors across the United States, in April signed a bill into law that protects patients seeking gender-affirming treatments from criminal prosecution, including those traveling to Colorado from surrounding states to receive care. Colorado has not passed any laws restricting medical care for transgender people.
At least 21 states have passed legislation into law restricting gender-affirming care for minors, though a federal judge permanently blocked Arkansas’ law and laws in four other states have been temporarily blocked. Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri have also proposed legislation to limit care for transgender adults, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group.