Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) has signed legislation permitting minors aged 16 and above to access cross-sex hormone therapy without parental consent.
The legislation, L.D. 535, enables a health care professional to administer gender-affirming hormone treatment to a minor, if they have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, are judged to be experiencing harm from not receiving hormone therapy, and if their parents do not support the hormone treatment.
While the new law requires minors to give “informed written consent” following comprehensive explanation of the treatment, concerns about adolescents’ ability to fully comprehend the consequences of such treatments have been raised. Dr. Stephen B. Levine from Case Western Reserve University suggests that gender-affirming care is still based on very low-quality evidence and raises concerns about the lack of high-quality evidence for the success of these interventions.
Endocrinologists Daniel Metzger and Michael Laidlaw further stress the potential harms of hormone treatments, especially considering the irreversible effects on adolescent bodies. In contrast, State Representative Nina Milliken (D) advocates for teenagers’ rights to make decisions about their bodies, voicing her support for the law.
However, the legislation has faced criticism from those who believe it infringes on parents’ rights. State Representative Lucas Lanigan (R) argues the law goes too far in undermining parental authority over significant health decisions.