Garland is asked to probe threats to children’s hospitals

Oct 4, 2022, 9:34 AM | Updated: Oct 6, 2022, 3:21 am
FILE -- A woman walks past a sign outside the Boston Children's Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, ...

FILE -- A woman walks past a sign outside the Boston Children's Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Boston. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Children's Hospital Association are asking U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate and prosecute people who are threatening violence against children's hospitals and physicians that provide gender-affirming health care. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Three major medical associations have asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate and prosecute people who are threatening violence against children’s hospitals and physicians that provide gender-affirming health care.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Children’s Hospital Association wrote to Garland on Monday. Their demands come amid a spate of threats against doctors and institutions that provide medical care for transgender kids, sometimes including hormones or surgery for older teens.

Children’s hospitals nationwide have substantially increased security and are working with law enforcement, while some providers now need constant security, the associations said.

Garland did not immediately comment publicly, and a spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday. Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said this summer that the Department of Justice will ensure equal protection of transgender people under the law.

Rollins said she would not let “hate-based criminal activity” continue in her district after Boston Children’s Hospital said in August that its doctors and other staffers were being threatened with violence over its surgical program for transgender youths. The hospital is home to the first pediatric and adolescent transgender health program in the United States. Other U.S. children’s hospitals were also being harassed online.

The medical associations said in their letter that the social media threats have continued, coupled with harassing emails, phone calls and protesters at health care sites, causing “elevated and justifiable fear among families, patients and staff.” One hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit went on lockdown because of a bomb threat, they said.

“From Boston to Akron to Nashville to Seattle, children’s hospitals, academic health systems and physicians are being targeted and threatened for providing evidence-based health care,” the letter states. “These attacks have not only made it difficult and dangerous for institutions and practices to provide this care, they have also disrupted many other services to families seeking care.”

The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics are two of the nation’s most influential physician groups, helping shape government policy at the national level and in doctors’ offices. The Children’s Hospital Association represents more than 220 hospitals serving kids nationwide.

Laws and proposed legislation in several states seeking to limit kids’ access to transgender care or criminalize doctors and parents who seek it have emboldened attacks by popular conservative Twitter accounts. Some tweets have misled their large followings about the procedures for gender-affirming care.

Boston Children’s became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers after they found informational YouTube videos published by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients.

The medical associations argue that the attacks are rooted in an “intentional campaign of disinformation.” While Americans agree that online disinformation is a problem, there is widespread apprehension around federal efforts to monitor domestic, online disinformation, with privacy and free speech advocates expressing concerns about the government impinging on free speech rights.

Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security, for example, launched and then quickly shuttered a Disinformation Governance Board that had been intended to counter falsehoods that foreign adversaries, such as Russia, try to pump into the social media feeds of Americans.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Elderly residents are evacuated by a local organization from the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine,...
Associated Press

Ukraine on edge for more attacks, West eyes humanitarian aid

KYIV (AP) — Ukraine prepared for more Russian strikes on Monday and warned of the possibility for a new round of evacuations from the capital during a relative lull from the airstrikes on energy facilities and other key infrastructure in recent weeks. In the West, meanwhile, preparations were stepped up to boost humanitarian aid to […]
5 hours ago
Wreaths hang on the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Pho...
Associated Press

‘We the People’ is the White House’s theme for the holidays

WASHINGTON (AP) — Drawing decorating inspiration from America’s founding documents, Jill Biden chose a “We the People” theme to deck the White House halls and to remind Americans of what unites them throughout the year, especially during the holidays. Journalists were given a sneak peek early Monday before the first lady was to unveil the […]
5 hours ago
FILE - Holding cells are visible in a basement of a police station that was used by Russian forces ...
Associated Press

Biden boosts US effort to stem sexual violence in war zones

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is strengthening U.S. policy aimed at stemming sexual violence in war conflict zones, elevating the problem — increasingly documented in Ukraine and elsewhere — to the level of a possible serious human rights abuse that triggers sanctions and other actions against foreign perpetrators. Biden, a Democrat, on Monday will […]
5 hours ago
FILE - Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ...
Associated Press

Democrats kept the Senate this year, but 2024 may be harder

NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats celebrating a successful effort to keep control of the U.S. Senate this year will soon confront a 2024 campaign that could prove more challenging. The party enters the next cycle defending 23 seats, including two held by independents who caucus with Democrats. That’s compared with just 10 seats that Republicans […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Water levels in Zimbabwe’s biggest dam too low for power

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Electricity shortages that have been plaguing Zimbabwe are set to worsen after an authority that manages the country’s biggest dam said water levels are now too low to continue power generation activities. The Zambezi River Authority, which runs the Kariba Dam jointly owned by Zimbabwe and neighboring Zambia, said in a […]
5 hours ago
FILE - The Federal Correctional Institution is shown in Dublin, Calif., July 20, 2006. The former w...
Associated Press

Ex-prison warden faces trial over inmate abuse allegations

The former warden of an abuse-plagued federal women’s prison known as the “rape club” goes on trial Monday, accused of molesting inmates and forcing them to pose naked in their cells. Ray J. Garcia, who retired after the FBI found nude photos of inmates on his government-issued phone last year, is among five workers charged […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Garland is asked to probe threats to children’s hospitals