Meet the influential new player on transgender health bills
If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Jeff Mcmillan And Kimberlee Kruesi Associated Press
Do No Harm, a nonprofit that launched last year to oppose diversity initiatives in medicine has evolved into a significant leader in statehouses seeking to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youths, producing model legislation that an Associated Press analysis found has been used in at least three states.
The nonprofit, not widely known outside conservative medical and political circles, describes itself on its website as a collection of doctors and others uniting to “protect healthcare from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology.”
Representatives of Do No Harm turned down opportunities to talk with The Associated Press and emailed a statement explaining the group’s position.
Who Is Behind Do No Harm?
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb is a kidney specialist, emeritus professor, and former associate dean at the University of Pennsylvaniaís Medical School. Goldfarb retired in 2021 and incorporated Do No Harm in January 2022.
“The same radical movement behind ‘Critical Race Theory’ in the classroom and ‘Defund the Police’ is coming after healthcare, but hardly anyone knows it,” it warns on its website.
Goldfarb declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press but said in an email that “Do No Harm works to protect children from extreme gender ideology through original research, coalition-building, testimonials from parents and patients who lived through deeply troubling experiences, and advocacy for the rigorous, apolitical study of gender dysphoria.”
Goldfarb has published a book, “Take Two Aspirin and Call Me By My Pronouns: Why Turning Doctors into Social Justice Warriors is Destroying American Medicine,” and a similar op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
He told the New York Post in September 2022: “This focus on diversity means we’re going to take someone with a particular skin color because we think they OK, that they can do the work. But we will look for something other than the best and the brightest. We will look for people who are just OK to ensure we have the right mixture of ethnic groups in our medical schools.”
The organization joined a civil rights lawsuit by two doctors and several states that challenged a federal rule allowing higher compensation for doctors adopting an ‘anti-racism’ plan. The case was dismissed.
The organization’s executive director, Kristina Rasmussen, was chief of staff to former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, and served as president of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Where Is, Do No Harm Working?
An AP analysis of statehouse bills restricting gender-affirming care for youths found passages nearly identical to Do No Harm’s model legislation in Montana, Arkansas, and Iowa.
The organization registered lobbyists in 2022 in at least three states-Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee – and in Florida in 2023. People associated with the group have appeared as witnesses in statehouses. Chloe Cole, 18, is listed on its website as a ‘patient advocate’ who has spoken to lawmakers about her gender-transition reversal.
In states including Idaho, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Ohio, Cole described her transition as beginning at age 13, having surgery to remove her breasts at 15, and stopping her transition a year later, saying it was a mistake. Republican supporters of bills restricting or banning gender-affirming care often cite Cole’s story.
Cole told the Kansas news outlet The Reflector this year that Do No Harm reimburses her travel expenses as she testified before state lawmakers. She and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment from the AP.
Is Do No Harm A Lobbying Group?
Do No Harm was organized initially as a charitable organization whose tax-exempt status would be endangered by substantial lobbying.
On March 9 this year, after the group had already made significant inroads in legislatures with its model bill, lobbyists, and hearing witnesses, it incorporated Do No Harm Action as a separate nonprofit with a tax status that allows for more lobbying, according to records obtained from the Virginia Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs.
Goldfarb did not respond directly to questions about Do No Harmís lobbying, nor did another representative for the organization.
In the application for nonprofit status obtained from the Virginia agency, Do No Harm projected revenues of $910,000 in 2022, more than $1.1 million in 2023, and over $1.5 million in 2024.
The organization is so new that federal tax forms that typically reveal a nonprofit’s spending details have either not been received or processed.
It won a $250,000 award last year called the Gregor Peterson Prize. Its previous recipients include the Center for American Liberty, led by Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer who advised former President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and represented Cole in her lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente over gender-transition treatments she now regrets. The prize was announced in December at a summit held by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent provider of conservative model legislation.