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Ethics – NHS gives men smear tests

March 2018

Men who register with their GP as women are being routinely invited to breast cancer screenings and smear tests by the National Health Service. This is still the case, even if men have not had the operation to become a woman and therefore do not have a cervix that would require a smear test.

Conversely, guidance for Public Health England says that women registered as men will not ordinarily be offered the tests, even if they have not undergone surgery and therefore still have a cervix that would need routine tests for cancer.

As reported by the Christian Institute, the NHS position has been described as ‘immoral and dangerous’ political correctness that would put lives at risk.

Because patients can change their birth sex in their medical history, even without a gender recognition certificate or ‘amended’ birth certificate, the consequences could be serious for the NHS, whose professionals could, in the interests of gender equality, be required to spend time with patients for whom breast screening (normally) and cervical smears are inappropriate or impossible.

Wasted NHS resources

According to the Christian Institute, regular tests help the NHS spot problems early. Breast cancer screenings are thought to save 1300 lives annually due to prompt treatment following early diagnosis. Those who are not screened are more likely to develop advanced stages of cancer which is less easy to treat and is almost always fatal.

Transsexuals who were born male but have registered as female with their GP will be routinely offered cervical cancer screenings, despite not having a cervix. Even transsexual health adviser Aedan Wolton said that smear tests could be uncomfortable for women who believe they are men, saying ‘it is often a procedure designed for women’.

David Davies MP, who opposes government plans to allow people to legally change their gender by self-declaration, criticised the guidance. He said: ‘This is wasting the time of men who claim to be women by offering them tests for organs they do not have’.

He also waded into an online debate, in which he said: ‘Somebody possessing [male genitalia] is definitely not a woman. This should be a biological fact, not a matter for political debate’.

After this, Mr Davies was subjected to extreme abuse online from the LGBTQ community, including a Tory LGBTQ group. The backlash was so intense that the group was forced to make a public apology for their language.