Health Care

The Absurd Criticism of Rand Paul’s Rachel Levine Questioning

Rachel Levine appears during her confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., February 25, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/Reuters Pool)
How likely is it that this dangerous ideological agenda is about to get worse?

Yesterday, I noted on the Corner the perplexing reaction (from all the usual suspects) to Senator Rand Paul’s entirely legitimate line of questioning aimed at Rachel Levine, Biden’s pick for assistant health secretary. The absurd headlines and “hot takes” keep on coming.

“Exchange between GOP senator, transgender nominee draws fire from Democrats,” reports the Washington Post. “Rand Paul’s ignorant questioning of Rachel Levine showed why we need her in government,” opines a writer for the same publication.

“1st transgender nominee deflects inflammatory questions from GOP senator,” reports ABC News. “Rand Paul Launches Into Transphobic Rant Against Trans Nominee,” opines The Daily Beast.

“Rachel Levine Responds to Rand Paul About Transgender Medicine,” reports the New York Times, neglecting to mention that Levine’s “response” was one of sheer evasion.

Talk about burying the lede. Contrary to what progressive pundits insist, the real story of interest here is not Levine’s transgender status, but rather the fact that Levine refused to answer a crucial and highly topical question related to child welfare.

Here’s the real story. What Senator Paul asked and what Levine refused to answer was this: “Do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” And this, “Do you support the government’s intervening to override the parent’s consent to give a child puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia?”

As Senator Paul referenced, these are the very same questions that appeared before the High Court in England and Wales last year. In his questioning of Levine, Senator Paul cited the plaintiff in that case, Keira Bell:

I would hope that you would have compassion for Keira Bell, who’s a 23-year-old girl who was confused with her identity. At 14, she read on the internet about something about transsexuals and she thought, “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.

“I made a brash 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 that the medicalized gender transitioning was a very temporary superficial fix for a very complex identity issue.

Having reviewed the evidence from all sides, the judges in Bell’s case concluded that it was “highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers,” adding that it was also “doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.”

Accordingly, the court ordered a National Health Service moratorium on the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for gender-dysphoric young people.

Got that New York Times, et al.? The Keira Bell decision happened in Enlightened, secular Britain — and at the behest of impartial and liberal-minded judges. Unfortunately, in the absence of a similar judicial intervention — or indeed of a centralized health-care system — the situation in the United States is far more out of control.

There are currently 40+ transgender-youth clinics (and counting) in the United States, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The largest transgender-youth clinic in Los Angeles saw more than 1,000 patients in 2019; the youngest patient was four years old. And the director of that clinic has admitted to personally recommending double mastectomies for “probably about 200” adolescent females, a decision she has justified by the argument that “they don’t identify as girls,” thus breast removal is actually “chest reconstruction.” Similarly, a study entitled “Age Is Just a Number,” published in 2017 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, reveals that eleven out of the 20 surgeons interviewed admitted to having performed vaginoplasty — that is, castration followed by the inversion of the penis to form a pseudo-vaginal canal — “1 to 20” times on males under the age of 18.

If the British judges think that minors can’t consent to taking drugs and hormones to halt puberty, how likely is it that a minor can consent to having his or her sexual organs removed or mutilated?

Here’s another question worth pondering: If the Democratic nominee for assistant health secretary won’t answer basic questions related to child welfare — and the liberal media and political class won’t hold that nominee to account — how likely is it that this dangerous ideological agenda is about to get worse?

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