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Oregon Teens Allowed Gender Reassignment Without Parental Consent

The Oregon Health Authority (HERC) has passed a policy that allows teens 15 and older to begin the process of sex reassignment through access to cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgeries without parental consent.

Subsidized by the state's Medicaid program, the HERC estimates the cost of this program to be $150,000 per year.

The policy passed without being offered to the public for debate, yet transgender rights activists like Jenn Burleton, who helped create the Portland-based TransActive Gender Center, support the policy. Burleton believes it will decrease suicide rates among young teens.

"Parents may not be supportive," Burleton said to KPTV. "[Teens] may not be in an environment where they feel the parent will affirm their identity—this may have been going for years."

Burleton made her transition from male to female when she was 12 years old and believes that going through this process could be a lifelong struggle without assistance.

"We find kids who get early care do really, really, really well. Amazingly well," Burleton said.

Not everyone is as optimistic about the policy. Some parents' rights group, like Parents' Rights in Education, are fervently opposed to this initiative.

"It is trespassing on the hearts, the minds, the bodies of our children," Ori Porter of Parents' Rights in Education told KPTV. "They're our children. And for a decision, a life-altering decision like that to be done unbeknownst to a parent or guardian, it's mind-boggling."

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