Science, Abortion & the Effectiveness of Adolescent Medical Transition

October 21, 2021 @ 12:00–1:00 pm



About the talk

It is sometimes argued that adolescent medical transition is ineffective and unethical because its mental health benefits are unproven. Drawing an analogy to reproductive healthcare, Florence Ashley (they/them) argues that this misrepresents how we justify definitional medical interventions — that is, interventions that are sought for their own sake as an instrument of self-definition and autonomy over fundamental aspects of personal identity. Understood as definitional medical care, adolescent medical transition is effective if it brings about the desired physiological changes and is ethical unless proven overwhelmingly harmful. Register here.

About the speaker

Florence Ashley, BCL/JD, LLM (Bioeth) is a transfeminine jurist and bioethicist based in Toronto, where they are a doctoral student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Joint Centre for Bioethics. Their doctoral project examines how science is deployed and used within the legal system to simultaneously bolster and undermine trans youth’s autonomy. Their research is supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship. Prior to their doctoral studies, they served as clerk to Justice Sheilah Martin of the Supreme Court of Canada (2019-2020), being the first openly transfeminine person to clerk at the highest court. Prior to clerking, they completed degrees in civil law and common law followed by a master’s in law and bioethics at McGill University. Florence’s book, Banning Transgender Conversion Practices: A Legal and Policy Analysis, is forthcoming with UBC Press. They are @ButNotTheCity on Twitter.