Far-right group behind abortion pill lawsuit spreading anti-trans junk science, leak finds

Laptop with data leak, red ribbon surrounds it

The right-wing and anti-LGBTQ+ American College of Pediatricians has attempted to infiltrate schools with anti-trans junk science, according to a reported data leak.

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) was formed 20 years ago as a breakaway group from the respected American Academy of Pediatrics, over the latter’s support for same-sex adoption.

ACPeds is one of the groups behind a lawsuit fighting the US Food and Drug Administration over the abortion drug mifepristone.

The college’s campaigning against LGBTQ+ rights, including trans healthcare, same-sex marriage and adoption, has seen it categorised as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). ACPeds disputes the label.

A significant data breach, which the group reportedly suffered after it published a link on its website to an unsecured Google Drive, has been reported on by Wired.

After Wired contacted the group regarding the data breach, the link was taken down.

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More than 10,000 documents were reportedly exposed on the drive, including records that detailed sensitive financial information, member details and radical views held by the college.

The leak showed that the group’s designation as a “hate group” saw it lose out on funding, including an Amazon charity programme it applied to, and revealed its struggle in peddling its far-right agenda: to “return America to a time when the laws and social mores around family squared neatly with evangelical Christian beliefs”. 

Leak reveals college’s most radical views target the trans community

Sensitive documents within the leak gave an insight into the college’s anti-trans activism.

Wired reported that files within the leak included literature, designed to be sent to schools, claiming trans youth have a “pathological disorder” and could influence others.

The baseless claim only referenced one research paper, by Brown University academic Lisa Littman, in which she peddles the concept of ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’.

In 2019, Australian experts debunked ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’ stating that “it is not, and has never been, a diagnosis or health condition, but has been used in a single report describing parental perception of their adolescent’s gender identity without exploration of the gender identity and experiences of the adolescents themselves”.

Other leaked documents described same-sex marriage as “aberrant and immoral behaviour”.

One reportedly offered physicians a guide on how to encourage patients to purchase “Christian-based parenting guides” designed to instil  “sexual purity”.

Group file federal lawsuit against abortion pill access 

In November, ACPeds was among a number of entities, including Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), to file a federal lawsuit against the FDA.

The lawsuit argued that when the FDA approved mifepristone – a pill used in more than half of medical abortions – it ignored safety concerns and exceeded its regulatory authority, the Guardian reported.

On April 7, Texas federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued a preliminary injunction ordering FDA to pause the approval of mifepristone citing that it is used to “kill the unborn human”.

An hour after the ruling, an Obama-selected federal judge in Washington state discharged a competing ruling, ordering that access to the abortion drug be protected in 17 states. 

Following the injunction, the Biden administration took the decision to the Fifth Circuit court of appeals where two judges blocked part of the ruling overturning the FDA’s prior approval of the drug.

The judges also reimposed restrictions including limiting its use after seven weeks of pregnancy, instead of the approved 10 weeks, and banning delivery by mail. 

The case is likely to be decided in the Supreme Court.

Among the leaked documents was a script to be delivered by doctors to pregnant minors, Wired reported.

This advised doctors to say they “strongly recommend against” abortion, saying “the procedure not only kills the infant you carry, but is also a danger to you”. The use of infant is incorrect, as is the suggestion that abortion is unsafe.

The American College of Pediatricians endorses conversion therapy

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes ACPeds as a “anti-LGBTQ hate group that masquerades as the premier US association of paediatricians to push anti-LGBTQ junk science”.

The leak suggests that ACPeds has just over 700 members, while the American Academy of Pediatrics has an estimated 67,000.

ACPeds’ Twitter bio states its mission as: “Protecting the child, preserving the family and honouring life.”

But a browse of its feed reveals its radical anti-trans views, including false claims that medical facilities are facilitating “gender transition” for children as young as two.

Another tweet read: “It’s true. Youth transition is experimental … Moreover, the best long-term evidence we have among adults shows that medical intervention fails to reduce suicide.”

The posts, like a lot of the material discovered in the leak, are supported by little or no evidence.

In January, a US-based study published by the New England Journal of Medicine showed how gender affirming care improves the mental health of trans teens.

ACPed’s website was down at the time of writing this article.

PinkNews has contacted the American College of Pediatricians for comment.