The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is being questioned by GOP doctors in the Senate about its controversial guidance saying that transgender people can breastfeed children and suggesting that such individuals take drugs for lactation.
According to the CDC, transgender and non-binary individuals “may give birth and breastfeed or feed at the chest (chestfeed).” The agency has also published that transgenders can take “medication to induce lactation” so as to “chestfeed” infants. On July 13, Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kans.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) issued a letter (pdf) slamming the CDC for its “chestfeeding” guidance.
“I am writing to you with serious concern about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance for biological men who identify as women (transgender individual) who wish to breastfeed,” said the senators, who have a doctor of medicine (M.D.) certification.
“CDC’s Pledge to the American People commits that the basis of all public health decisions will be made on the highest quality scientific data that is derived openly and objectively. This guidance, however, seems driven by political considerations rather than science, and the Agency has provided no explanation of the reasoning and data behind these recommendations.”
The letter, addressed to CDC director Mandy Cohen, points out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has currently not approved any medication to increase the supply of breast milk.
Two drugs that are most commonly used for this purpose are metoclopramide and domperidone, both of which “come with significant risks and side effects.”
The drugs are actually intended for other health conditions and are used off-label to boost milk supply. “Off-label” means using a medication for a purpose different from what it was approved for.
The FDA has warned about “serious risks” in using metoclopramide to raise milk supply. The drug’s label says that the medication can “pass into your breast milk and may harm your baby,” the letter notes.
With regard to domperidone, the FDA has “explicitly warned” using the drug for raising milk supply since 2004 due to safety concerns. In countries where the oral form of the drug is being sold, labels warn that the medication is “excreted in breast milk that could expose a breastfeeding infant to unknown risks.”
In addition to potentially being dangerous to the baby, the drugs also have side effects that can harm the person consuming them, the letter notes.
“It is shocking that CDC would directly contradict FDA by recommending the use of an unapproved drug, without any context about the dangers of the product … The CDC should not be recommending drugs that are not approved in the U.S., and otherwise blatantly contradicting FDA, the agency that Congress has tasked with reviewing the safety and effectiveness of drugs.”
The letter asked the CDC director to provide a scientific basis for its chestfeeding and lactation drug intake guidance, like submitting any peer-reviewed studies to inform its guidance on transgender individuals breastfeeding; data relied upon by the agency which compared nutritional benefits of biological women’s breast milk with the breast milk produced by a transgender individual; and data on evaluate long-term health risk evaluation to an infant from being breastfed by a transgender individual who has received hormonal therapy to transition genders.
“According to the data CDC reviewed in developing these recommendations, how many transgender individuals have been able to produce breast milk?” the letter asks.
“What data did CDC evaluate regarding the ability of transgender individuals to produce sufficient breast milk to exclusively breastfeed an infant for the CDC-recommended minimum of six months?”
And, “What is the review process for CDC to publish guidance that has little scientific backing on its website?”
The senators have required that the CDC provide answers to the questions by Aug. 1.
The CDC’s guidance has triggered massive criticism. In an interview with Daily Mail, Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said that “we have no idea what the long-term effects on the child will be” if a breastfeeding transgender uses “all kinds of off-label hormones.’”
“A lot of people are pushing for off-label use of a drug … it’s become so politicized that you can do all kinds of things for a politically approved purpose,” she said. “The CDC has a responsibility to talk about the health risks, but they have been derelict in doing that.”
In a recent episode of the Washington Watch show, Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, stressed the health risks posed by the CDC policy.
Ms. Szoch pointed out that when a mother breastfeeds a child, the milk provides the infant with benefits like protection from infection and diseases.
“We know that that’s certainly not happening with this drug-induced secretion that is very much not breast milk,” she said about transgenders taking drugs to lactate and breastfeed. “Furthermore, we know that what is being produced has the potential to cause heart problems for this child.”
“We are putting a brand new baby, a child who has no defenses at all, who can’t speak for himself, we’re putting that child’s life at risk. We’re putting that child at risk of having heart palpitations and various difficulties so that we can encourage this woke culture,” she said.
Pamela Geller, editor in chief at the Geller Report, blamed Democrats for the CDC guidance. “Lunatics at CDC Gives Guidance to Trans Biological Males Looking to ‘Chestfeed’ Infants. Madness. Under the Democrats, lunacy is encouraged, rewarded,” she said in a July 8 tweet. “The horror here is the harm to the infant. The mission is to erase women.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the CDC for comment.