‘Very Complex’: Dr. Rachel Levine Dodges Sen. Paul’s Question About Sex Changes For Children

Dr. Rachel Levine evaded questions from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Thursday regarding Levine’s support for giving children puberty blockers and sex-change surgeries.

Levine, who is President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, fielded questions from various lawmakers during a confirmation hearing, but Paul asked especially blunt, pointed, and graphic questions.

“Genital mutilation has been nearly universally condemned,” Paul began, citing the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund. “According to the WHO, genital mutilation is recognized internationally as a violation of human rights. 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, who received his M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine in 1988, went on to note that most genital mutilation worldwide is not typically performed by force but rather for the sake of “social convention, social norm, the social pressure to conform; to do what others do and have been doing, as well the need to be accepted socially and the fear of being rejected by the community.”

Paul warned that American culture is in the process of socially normalizing sex changes for minors, either through puberty-blocking hormones or surgery.

“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,” Paul grilled, noting the permanent effects of such measures. He cited a statistic from the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) that “80 to 95 percent of pre-pubertal children with gender dysphoria will experience resolution by late adolescence if not exposed to medical intervention and social affirmation.”

Levine, who is transgender, dodged Paul’s question whether minors are capable of making a decision as life-altering as changing one’s sex.

“Well, senator, thank you for your interest in this question,” Levine said. “Transgender medicine is 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 will 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.”

Paul noted Levine did not answer his question. “Let’s be a little more specific since you evaded the question. Do you support the government intervening to override the parents’ consent to give a child puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia?”

Citing Levine’s support for “accelerating” such measures for “street kids,” Paul expressed his alarm that vulnerable children without homes or families would be allowed to have a sex change. He also gave the example of Keira Bell, a female British citizen who later regretted taking testosterone and undergoing a double mastectomy.

Levine again refused to answer Paul’s question, reiterating the same response given to Paul’s previous question.

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“Let it go into the record that the witness refused to answer the question,” Paul said. “The question is a very specific one: should minors be making these momentous decisions?” He went on to explain why such procedures are medically unprecedented.

Paul faced a backlash from his colleagues for his line of questioning. “It is really critical to me that our nominees be treated with respect and that our questions focus on their qualifications, rather than ideological and harmful misrepresentations,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

According to The Daily Beast, Ruben Gonzales, executive director of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement: “His remarks echo the talking points of the same organizations who said gay men deserved AIDS and that LGBTQ people should be criminalized. He explicitly attacked vulnerable trans youth for his own perceived political gain and it was a disgrace.”

Related: ‘Historic And Deeply Qualified’: Biden Taps Transgender PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine For Assistant HHS Secretary

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