Oh, Indiana…

I recently read that Indiana’s legislative overlords are taking time out from their attacks on women and trans children, and deigning to address an actual issue–the health of Hoosier citizens.

I haven’t been following those health measures, and to be honest, I lack the background to properly evaluate them in any case, so I thought I’d pose a question to my new research assistant, otherwise known as ChatGPT.

Here’s what I asked:

Please locate Indiana’s relative performance in health related areas, especially drug and alcohol abuse rates, infant mortality, smoking statistics, suicides, life expectancy, and other wellness markers like mental health.

Here’s what I got:

 Sure, here is some information on Indiana’s relative performance in health-related areas:

Drug and alcohol abuse rates: According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Indiana has higher than average rates of substance abuse, particularly with regard to prescription pain relievers and synthetic opioids. In 2019, Indiana had the 9th highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States, with a rate of 27.5 deaths per 100,000 population.

Infant mortality: Indiana has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country, with a rate of 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019. This is higher than the national average of 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Smoking statistics: Indiana has one of the highest rates of smoking in the United States, with an adult smoking rate of 21.1% in 2019. This is higher than the national average of 14.0%.

Suicides: Indiana has an above-average rate of suicide, with a rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2019. This is higher than the national average of 13.9 deaths per 100,000 population.

Life expectancy: Indiana’s life expectancy is slightly lower than the national average, at 76.7 years in 2019 compared to the national average of 77.3 years.

Mental health: Indiana has lower than average rates of mental health care access and high rates of mental illness. According to Mental Health America’s 2021 report, Indiana ranks 45th out of all states and the District of Columbia in terms of overall access to mental health care. Additionally, Indiana has the 5th highest rate of adult mental illness in the United States.

It’s worth noting that these rankings and statistics are subject to change over time and may vary depending on the specific sources and data used.

You might think that–given the sad state of Hoosiers’ health–healthcare might take priority over efforts to stymie DEI investing and destroy the state’s public schools–but of course, this is Indiana….Even a superficial look at General Assembly priorities is enough to demonstrate lawmakers’ utter disregard for public health.

In the wake of Dobbs, Indiana lawmakers couldn’t wait to ban abortion–despite overwhelming evidence that reproductive care–including abortion–is an essential element of women’s healthcare.

Then, of course, there’s the legislature’s ongoing love affair with guns, despite polling showing that a majority of Hoosiers (including a majority of NRA members) support additional regulation.

Perhaps the most direct evidence of our legislature’s lack of concern for the health of their constituents was this session’s mean-spirited denial of appropriate health care to trans children. I went back to ChatGPT for an explanation of the health consequences involved.

Denying appropriate medical care to transgender young people can have serious medical and emotional consequences. Here are some of the potential outcomes:

Delayed or absent puberty: Transgender young people who are denied appropriate medical care may not undergo puberty at the same time as their peers, or may not undergo puberty at all. This can lead to social isolation, low self-esteem, and feelings of dysphoria.

Increased risk of mental health problems: Transgender young people who are denied appropriate medical care may experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems as a result of the distress caused by their physical dysphoria.

Increased risk of suicide: Studies have shown that transgender young people who are denied appropriate medical care have a higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

Increased risk of physical health problems: Transgender young people who are denied appropriate medical care may be at increased risk of physical health problems related to their gender dysphoria, such as urinary tract infections or other complications from avoiding the use of restrooms that do not match their gender identity.

Reduced life expectancy: Transgender people who are denied appropriate medical care may have reduced life expectancy due to the physical and mental health problems they experience as a result of their gender dysphoria.

Overall, denying appropriate medical care to transgender young people can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences. It is important for healthcare providers and society as a whole to recognize and respect the healthcare needs of transgender youth, and to provide them with the necessary medical care and support to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our legislative culture warriors don’t care.


  1. Again, they are practicing medicine without a license!

    I hope that someone sues the Indiana government when their son or daughter commits suicide because they are denied care.

    Leave these souls alone!

  2. Yet they continue to be elected into office. I wonder when enough Hoosiers will get a belly full of their indifference and fire them once and for all.

  3. Surely you jest. These are straight, white, Christian, American men, the wisest, most noble of the human species. They were clearly born to rule. They know this for a fact!

  4. Aww, the “Never Democrat” crowd won’t spend enough energy determining what their voting investment returns to them. Our lawmakers are paid not to care. Period.

    Every industry can be tracked to the oligarchs running the financial realm. If it pays, then Indiana lawmakers will vote for the Right to Farm, Right to Work, etc., etc.

    Privatizing the industries is lucrative for lawmakers because they can get kickbacks on contracts.

    And then, they can run up surpluses by not spending on needed services – they even brag about the rainy day funds. Do they give the money back to wage earners? LOL

    The media has constituents trained on both sides. It’s boring to watch…

  5. It seems we, both Indiana and Florida, have perfect legislatures for the19th century. In those good old days, there were x and y. We had no information that clearly identified any other chromosomes that might be involved in gender makeup and we were certain that they could only be used in two ways, either xy or xx. Those certainties made us comfortable, unless one or another of our chromosomes was tugging us in a different direction. We learned from family and the pulpit that that was the devil and good people could and would overcome it.

    Our legislators could use a good biology class, but I would bet that none of them would get a passing grade. Willful ignorance is the banner those proud MAGAts wave with joy.

  6. Perhaps the “legislators” think if all the trans kids kill themselves, then the trans issue will just go away, because there won’t be any more trans people. This sounds evil beyond comprehension, but it is our legislature, after all. They are evil beyond comprehension.

  7. Well, Indiana isn’t alone in backwardness. Take Tennessee…PLEASE. Greg Abbott in Texas wants to pardon a convicted killer of a protester. He can’t have protesters winning at anything. It’s just another sure sign of how insecure he is mentally.

    But many other states continue to race to the bottom of human decency. Virtually all of them are run by Republicans who have either gerrymandered themselves into power and will clutch it to their fetid bosoms forever, or who have been purchased wholly by one or more of Todd’s Oligarchs.

    No, Republicans of any stripe from any constituency simply don’t care about their citizens’ health. It’s a kind of perverse Darwinism, isn’t it? Dead people tend not to vote… unless you’re a Republican who loses an election.

  8. Ignorance fueled by not teaching critical thinking and civics plus little local journalism plus endless amusement via celebrities, gamification and social media gives the people BLISS.

  9. Those fake Pro-lifer/anti-abortionists completely stop caring about the lives of those babies once they are born.

  10. Nancy, I question if they ever really care about the ‘baby’; I really feel it’s simply an urge to punish and control the woman.

    I’m so sick over this attach on trans kids. It goes against medical advice; it goes against parental rights; it goes against human rights. This State disgusts me.

  11. Sheila, I hope you do not continue to outsource your blog to ChatGPT. If so, I will stop reading it. I want to read your thoughts, not unverified stats that are not mediated by a real, live person.

  12. Yes, Indiana, and Florididia!
    Sadly one can not educate people who see education as a waste of their
    time and energy. Better, they think, to remain happily ignorant, which, to
    them, does not feel like ignorance, but wisdom.
    Yes, Vernon, I had a similar idea, that the legislators would see the marginalization
    induced suicides as a swell “cure-all.”

  13. Steve – kudos for your thoughtful comment. Critical thinking and using CHATGPT do not mix.

  14. A big part of my identity is about educating, and a big part of that is educating about being a transgender person.

    CHATGPT did a pretty poor job with medical care for trans kids. Point by point:

    “Delayed or absent puberty: Transgender young people who are denied appropriate medical care may not undergo puberty at the same time as their peers, or may not undergo puberty at all. This can lead to social isolation, low self-esteem, and feelings of dysphoria.”

    This almost sounds supportive of the anti positon on trans youth and children’s health care. For youth (defining youth as at the start of puberty) puberty blockers actually do stop puberty from happening at the normal time because for a trans girl, going through male puberty can both be very traumatic and can make transitioning much more difficcult because we identify someone’s sex by their secondary male sex characteristics, like beard, low voice, baldness, facial hair, all of which are brought on by going through puberty. Avoiding puberty for the trans boy removes the need for future breast removal, and avoids the trauma of starting and having a period. CHATGPT makes these things sound like a negative, and to some extent they are, but compared to the trauma of going thought the wrong puberty the are relatively minor.

    “Increased risk of mental health problems: :

    CHATGPT’s answer is correct but incomplete. A trans child or youth who is not allowed treament will likelyi develop “depression, anxiety and other mental health problems”, but CHATGPT goes on to add “as a result of the distress caused by their physical dysphoria.” The dysphoria is mental not physical. CHATGPT should have said “mental distress caused by the physical change in their body that are in conflict with their chosen sex. If we are talking about pre-pubescent trans children (CHATGPT says young people, and does not differential, pubescent from pre-pubescent), then their mental distress will be determined by how strong their dysphoria is and how supportive their parentes are without the support of mental health professionals. In addition, a child or youth (meaning pre-pubsecent or pubescent) will be more tramatized if they have been allowed to life for a period of time in their chosen sex, and then forced back into living as their natal (assigned at birth) sex. This return to the conditions they escaped from is going to be much more traumatic then the those conditions when they had not yet experienced living as their brain told them to. To clarifty “living as their brain told them to”, when I transitioned, and had been on estrogen for a few months, there was a point at which I looked around (both physically and at the state of my life) and thought, Oh my God, the worlds feels right! It had never felt right before at any point in the past. It felt like I fit in , but it never had before.

    “Increased risk of suicide:”

    This one could say a bit more, but it is generally OK

    “Increased risk of physical health problems: ”

    This one is accurate, but it worth mentioning that for trans men, who have not had their uterus and ovaries removed, getting healthcare for their now shut down reproductive trract can be very difficult, because Ob/Gyns are often not comfortable treating trans men, and even if they are, they are often not comfortable having trans man in their waiting rooms with sometimes pregnant women.

    “Reduced life expectancy: ”

    This is worth missing, but is somewhat redundant because it is implied by the high suicide rates.

    “Overall” is OK.

  15. Steve @ 11:49: I certainly do not intend to “outsource” this blog to Chat. If you have been a regular reader, you know that I almost always incorporate material from other sources–news reports, op-eds, etc.–and I try very hard to cite those sources, not just because it is the intellectually honest thing to do, but so that readers can determine for themselves the accuracy/bias of the source material. That is what I did today.

    As I have noted in previous discussion of Chat, its use requires care–in framing the question asked as well as healthy skepticism about the answer. Carefully used, however, it’s simply a “quick and dirty” google search, and that was how it was used–and presented–in today’s post.

  16. We need to stand up for trans youth. None of us is safe when the legislature is so eager to restrict access to health care and to deny freedom to the target population of its choice. Who will be next?

  17. I can’t help but think of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died because lack of access to proper Healthcare. I wonder how many committed suicide than to face enormous medical bills? I can’t help but think why this country hasn’t joined the rest of the modern world in allowing access to genuine Healthcare, instead of Heritage Foundation sponsored insurance. I wonder why the Democratic Party was complacent and didn’t codify Roe vs Wade within the last 50 years.

    Now,when the trans movement is really just another movement to benefit white,upper-middle class MEN,there’s a lot of talk wrt Healthcare for such MEN. Again,the establishment prefers affluent white-men over the needs -for decades- Healthcare services for women.

    I’m curious. Do men claiming to be women have a say wrt abortion?

  18. Nothing has changed in decades and I am not aware of any efforts to improve our public health rankings. I worked as a public health nurse for Marion County–our infant mortality was among the worst back in 1998. Health disparity was recognized where women of color had the worst maternal health outcomes.

    I worked in mental health for 10 years and we were consistently in the bottom in the number of resources. For years we were 2nd in the nation in the number of child abuse cases at that was announced to us at a meeting at Riley and yet no improvements to address any of these issues for DECADES.

    In the bottom for education since the 70’s–no improvements that I can see and now I live in Tennessee and is the same shit but different state.

    The majority being ruled by a tyrannical minority.

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