HHS Nominee Rachel Levine Evades Question on Puberty Blockers, Child Sex Change Surgeries

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tried on Thursday to get President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services (HHS) nominee, Rachel Levine, a biological man who considers himself a transgender woman, to denounce allowing minors to take puberty-blocking hormones or undergo surgery to remove breasts or genitalia.

“American culture is now normalizing the idea that minors can be given hormones to prevent their biological development of their secondary sexual characteristics,” Paul said at Levine’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

“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 said, comparing it to the universal opposition to female genital mutilation or FGM.

“Like surgical mutilation, hormonal interruption of puberty can permanently alter and prevent secondary sexual characteristics,” Paul said.”The American College of pediatricians reports 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.”

“Dr. Levine, do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” Paul asked. 

Levine did not answer the question, instead providing a generic response to imply cooperation.

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

“This specific question was about minors,” Paul said. “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?” Rand asked. “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.”

Paul then described a teenager who took drastic steps to “transition” from female to male.
“I would hope that you would have compassion for Keira Bell, who’s a 23-year-old girl who was confused with her identity,” Paul said. “At 14, she read on the Internet about something about transsexual. She said, ‘Well maybe that’s what I am.’ She ended up getting these puberty blockers cross-sex hormones. She had her breasts amputated. But here’s what ultimately she says now.” 

“And this is a very insightful decision from someone who made a mistake but was led to believe this was a good thing by the medical community,” Paul said.

“She said, ‘I made a rash decision as a teenager, as a lot of teenagers do, trying to find confidence and happiness, except now the rest of my life will be negatively affected.’”

“She said adding the medicalized gender transitioning was a very temporary superficial fix for a very complex identity issue,” Paul said. “What I’m alarmed at is that you’re not willing to say absolutely minors shouldn’t be making decisions to amputate their breast or to amputate their genitalia.”

Paul also touched on how this transgender ideology includes depriving parents of their right to parent their children, including in matters of physical and mental health.

“For most of our history, we believe that minors don’t have full rights and the parents need to be involved,” Paul said, adding:

 So I’m alarmed that you won’t say with certainty that minors should not have the ability to make the decision. To take hormones that will affect them for the rest of their life. Will you make a more firm decision on whether or not minors should be involved in these decisions?

Levine dodged the question and gave the same generic answer.

“Senator, 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,” Levine said.

“Let it go into the record that the witness refused to answer the question,” Paul said. He continued:

The question is a very specific one. Should minors be making these momentous decisions for most of the history of medicine? We wouldn’t let you have a cut sewn up in the ER, but you’re willing to let a minor take things that prevent their puberty, and you think they’re going to go back?

“You give a woman enough testosterone, enough that she grows a beard, you think she’s going to go back looking like a woman?” Paul said. “You have permanently changed them.

Paul also cited other problems these kinds of treatments in children cause, including infertility. 

“We should be outraged that someone’s talking to a three-year-old about changing their sex,” Paul said.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to pstarr@breitbart.com.

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