During a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted Dr. Rachel Levine for avoiding his questions about minors undergoing medical intervention in an effort to change sex.
Levine, a pediatrician and Secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Health from 2017 until this year, is President Joe Biden's nominee for assistant secretary of health. Levine is also transgender.
Paul, who is also a physician, began his questioning by describing the widespread global condemnation of traditional genital mutilation practices, then stating that "American culture is now normalizing the idea that minors can be given hormones to prevent their biological development of their secondary sexual characteristics."
He also pointed out that Levine has previously supported minors receiving hormone blockers to prevent puberty, as well as surgical procedures that alter minors' genitalia. Then, over the course of several minutes, he asked the nominee two specific questions: "Do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one's sex?" and "Will you make a more firm decision on whether or not minors should be involved in these decisions?"
After each question, Levine responded that "transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field" and expressed willingness to visit Paul's office upon confirmation to talk about "standards of care" for transgender medicine.
Paul described the long-term damage that puberty blockers and gender-change surgeries inflict and said that the American medical community has, until recently, not viewed minors as capable of making even simple medical decisions on their own. He also said that the record should show "the witness refused to answer the question" and said he could not vote for Levine "unless ... " before being cut off by a moderator.
Watch the video of Paul's questioning of Levine here.