Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday pressed President Joe Biden's nominee for assistant secretary of health on whether the government should override a parent's consent to allow a gender-dysphoric child to begin taking hormones or pursue sex-change surgery.
Paul asked Dr. Rachel Levine, who identifies as a transgender woman, whether minors are capable of making life-altering decisions to undergo irreversible medical procedures that permanently change their bodies. In his question, Paul compared sex-change operations for minors to genital mutilation.
"Genital mutilation has been nearly universally condemned. ... Genital mutilation is considered particularly egregious because, as the WHO notes, it is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children," Paul said.
"Most genital mutilation is not typically performed by force, but as WHO notes, by social convention. Social norm. The social pressure to conform. To do what others do and have been doing as well as the need to be accepted socially and the fear of being rejected by the community," he continued.
"American culture is now normalizing the idea that minors can be given hormones to prevent their biological development of their secondary sexual characteristics. Dr. Levine, you have supported both allowing minors to be given hormone blockers to prevent them from going through puberty, as well as surgical destruction of a minor's genitalia. Like surgical mutilation, hormonal interruption of puberty can permanently alter and prevent secondary sexual characteristics. The American College of Pediatricians reports that 80-95% of prepubertal children with gender dysphoria will experience resolution by late adolescence if not exposed to medical intervention and social affirmation," he continued.
"Dr. Levine, do you believe minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one's sex?" Paul asked.
Levine replied, "Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed and if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as the assistant secretary of health, I'll look forward to working with you and your office and coming to your office and discussing the particulars of the standards of care for transgender medicine."
Unsatisfied, Paul accused Levine of evading his question.
"Do you support the government intervening to override the parent's consent to give a child puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia? You have said that you're willing to accelerate the protocols for street kids. I'm alarmed that poor kids with no parents, who are homeless and distraught — you would just go through this and allow that to happen to a minor," he said.
Paul shared the story of Keira Bell, a 23-year-old U.K. woman who is taking legal action against the NHS, claiming that she should have been challenged by medical staff on her decision as a teenager to undergo a sex-change operation to appear male. She now regrets that decision.
"What I am alarmed at is that you're not willing to say absolutely minors shouldn't be making decisions to amputate their breasts or to amputate their genitalia," Paul told Levine.
Levine responded that "transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field and if confirmed to the position of assistant secretary of health, I would certainly be pleased to come to your office and talk with you and your staff about the standards of care and the complexity of this field."
Paul again accused Levine of refusing to answer his question.
"You're willing to let a minor take things that prevent their puberty, and you think they get that back? You give a woman testosterone enough that she grows a beard, do you think she's going to go back to looking like a woman when she stops the testosterone? You have permanently changed them," Paul said.
He continued: "Infertility is another problem. None of these drugs have been approved for this, they're all being used off-label. I find it ironic that the left that went nuts over hydroxychloroquine being used possibly for COVID are not alarmed that these hormones are being used off-label. There's no long-term studies. We don't know what happens to them. We do know that there are dozens and dozens of people who've been through this who regret that this happened. And a permanent change happened to them. And if you've ever been around children, 14-year-olds can't make this decision."
"In the gender dysphoria clinic in England, 10% of the kids are between the ages of 3 and 10. We should be outraged that someone's talking to a 3-year-old about changing their sex!" Paul exclaimed.
Dr. Paul Questions Rachel Levine During Confirmation Hearing - February 25, 2021 www.youtube.com