Puberty-blocking Drugs

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 10th December 2020.

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Photo of Jenny Marra Jenny Marra Labour

It is interesting that the First Minister does not think that the democratic process and the courts can overrule medical opinion, because that is exactly what happened in the High Court in England last week.

Let me say that I support every child having the right to live their best life, and the medical support to enable them to do so. However, last week’s judgment in the English High Court was specifically about children’s capacity to consent. Law and society do not deem children to have capacity to consent to sex or marriage. Last week, the High Court said that neither do they have the capacity to consent to life-altering, fertility-changing drugs until they are aged 16. However, we know that, in the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow, NHS Scotland continues to give such drugs to children as young as 11.

Given her legal background, can the First Minister tell me whether she agrees that children lack the legal capacity to give informed consent to receiving such drugs? If she does, will she use her power to instruct the national health service in Scotland to stop giving them to our children?