Sunday Bulletin: Tracking kids’ periods, Vandy caves on gender transition care, OTC birth control OTW

Vanderbilt recently announced, in a letter to Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary, that it plans to pause all gender transition surgeries for minors. The move came after Tennessee legislators swore to investigate the clinic and outlaw gender-affirming surgery for minors following posts from conservative commentator Matt Walsh. The clinic has been providing gender-affirming care to minors since 2018.

The letter also stated that Vanderbilt would conduct an internal review of its policies and practices following the release of new recommendations for health care professionals for treatment of transgender people published by World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).

“Parents should be able to make decisions in regard to their children’s health. That is something Republicans claim to fight for, but refuse to acknowledge when it comes to transition-related care,” Rep. Vincent Dixie, House Democratic Caucus Chair said.

The American Pediatric Association has voiced support of gender-affirming care for transgender youth and has been opposed to legislation that would criminalize it. The APA also published a statement against bills that would restrict gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The APA also signed a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking him to “investigate the organizations, individuals, and entities coordinating, provoking, and carrying out bomb threats and threats of personal violence against children’s hospitals and physicians across the U.S.”

Rep. William Lambert said in a tweet the pause on gender-affirming surgeries was “a win for the safety of our children, but we’re committed to ensuring this never happens in Tennessee again.”

New business: Birth control pills may soon be available over the counter

In November, the FDA will consider two applications for an over-the-counter birth control pill. In most states in America, a prescription and doctor’s visit is required to receive the birth control pill—a barrier some advocates say keeps people from accessing the reproductive healthcare they need. Appointments and prescriptions can be costly for people without insurance, creating yet another barrier to care.

If approved, people will be able to buy birth control over the counter. The FDA hasn’t had the hearing yet, so we don’t know yet exactly what the landscape for an over-the-counter birth control pill could look like in America, but many other developed countries sell birth control over the counter. Some of these countries include: Turkey, Mexico and South Korea.

Some states in America provide birth control pills without a prescription after a consultation with a pharmacist. Those states include Oregon, California and Washington D.C.

It’s no secret the Pill changed the world for women when it was introduced in 1960. By 1970, unmarried women were given access to the pill, sparking a social and economic revolution for women. Making the Pill available over the counter could spark another revolution and could cut down on unintended pregnancies and provide much needed access for poor and rural women who already struggle to access basic reproductive healthcare.

Speaking of the Pill, I wanted to sign off with these lyrics from the late Loretta Lynn, who died last week. Her song “The Pill” was banned from the radio in 1975.

“This old maternity dress I’ve got is going in the garbage

The clothes I’m wearing from now on won’t take up so much yardage

Miniskirts, hot pants, and a few little fancy frills

Yeah, I’m making up for all those years since I’ve got the pill”

Announcements: Reckon Reporter Becca Andrews’ book “No Choice” publishes this week

As the battle over abortion moves to state legislatures, a new book profiles the people doing groundbreaking, inspiring work to ensure safe, legal access to this fundamental part of health care.

And it just so happens that book was written by one of Reckon’s very own.

Reproductive health and justice reporter Becca Andrews’ “No Choice” discusses how life before Roe presages post-Roe life. Andrews also takes us to the states and communities hardest hit by the erosion of abortion rights in this country, which has been ongoing for years. She tells the stories of those who are most at risk from this devastating reversal of settled law. The book will be released Tuesday, Oct. 11, and there’s still time for you to pre-order the book from your favorite bookseller.

Becca will also be on book tour this month, and may very likely be coming to a city near you. (Tell her I sent you!) Here’s her tour schedule and links to buy her book.

Come out and say hello and maybe grab a copy of her book, why don’t ya? Give her a follow on Twitter to keep up with the latest on the state of abortion.

Sermon notes: Anderson Cooper interviewed SBC President Bret Barber for an episode of 60 Minutes, which airs tonight, Oct. 9.

I’ll be watching and taking notes. Follow me on Twitter @_AnnaBeahm to follow the latest in religion and sexuality in America.

Anna Beahm

Anna Beahm |

I report on the intersection of religion and sexuality in America. Follow me on Twitter @_AnnaBeahm

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