Republican Senator Rand Paul used his time at a hearing for the confirmation of Rachel Levine, President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health, to challenge her belief that minors should be allowed to choose their own genders.
Levine, who is looking to become Biden’s first transgender Cabinet official and the first openly transgender confirmed by the U.S. Senate, has previously argued that minors should be able to choose to undergo hormone therapy or gender-change surgery without parental consent.
NBC News reports Paul, a former ophthalmologist, said imposing the idea of gender transitioning to minors is “life-changing” and can have dangerous consequences.
Paul then compared the transition process to genital mutilation.
“Genital mutilation has been nearly universally condemned,” Paul said to Levine. “Genital mutilation is considered particularly egregious because, as the [World Health Organization] notes, it is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.”
“Most genital mutilation is not typically performed by force, but, as the WHO notes, by social convention — social norm,” he continued, as Faith Wire reports. “The social pressure to conform, to do what others do and have been doing, as well as the need to be accepted, and the fear of being rejected by the community.”
Paul then said he was worried about society 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 deconstruction of a minor’s genitalia,” the Republican said. “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.”
“Do you believe minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” he asked via Faith Wire.
Levine answered by saying “transgender medicine” is “very complex” and “nuanced,” but that would “look forward to working with” Paul and his office should she be confirmed.
She also said she would look forward to “discussing the particulars of the standards of care for transgender medicine.”
Paul, seemingly unsatisfied with the response, answered: “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 you’re willing to accelerate the protocols for street kids,” he continued. “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.”
Faith Wire adds:
In his line of questioning, Paul referenced the U.K. case of 23-year-old Keira Bell, who, experiencing gender dysphoria, received hormone therapy as a teenager and now regrets it. Bell is now taking legal action against the National Health Service, arguing she should have been challenged more thoroughly by medical personnel on her decision to undergo procedures to make her appear male.
The Republican senator said he is “alarmed” by the fact that Levine was “not willing to say absolutely minors shouldn’t be making decisions to amputate their breasts or to amputate their genitalia.”
Levine once again dodged the question.
Paul then concluded:
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.
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 three and 10. We should be outraged that someone’s talking to a 3-year-old about changing their sex.
Paul’s comments were met with some backlash in the liberal community, as CNN reports some people described it as a “transphobic attack.” Others argued Paul’s comments were too critical and ignorant of the subject matter.
Watch the exchange below: