Bills have been filed and an investigation launched by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley to protect children from both Big Tech and gender transition treatments.
One Hawley bill would authorize patient and parent lawsuits against gender treatment clinics, affiliates and the professionals therein.
After a whistleblower at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital alleged the institution was “permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care,” Hawley announced an investigation into it in a strongly worded letter to hospital overseers.
“Accountability is coming,” Hawley wrote to Washington University in St. Louis Chancellor Dr. Andrew D. Martin and St. Louis Children’s Hospital President Trish M. Lollo.
Among other questions, Hawley demands to know:
- how many minors are coming to the center for gender-related treatment, and what percentage of them have been prescribed puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones
- how often serious medical complications have occurred
- how many of them have chosen to later detransition
- all sources of funding the center receives for gender-related treatments
- what policy, if any, the center has to inform minor patients and their parents about the known medical risks associated with gender-related treatments
“Let’s protect kids and let’s help parents,” Hawley said in an interview Thursday with The Lion. “The victims of these gender surgeries and of these forced sterilizations ought to be able to sue. It’s a basic principle of American justice that if you’ve been harmed, you ought to be able to go hold the person who harmed you accountable. Let’s give them the ability to do that.
“My bill would create the right for victims of these so-called treatments to get into court and to sue the doctors, to sue the clinics, to sue universities if the universities have funded it and participated in it. So let’s start there.
“As to the St. Louis clinic, we’ve got to find out how many kids were hurt. We’ve got to find out what was done to them. We’ve got to find out who’s funding this thing. You know, there’s big money in this. Somebody’s making a lot of money, and we’ve got to find out who.”
Hawley notes in his letter to the university and hospital that the whistleblower – Jamie Reed, a former case manager and self-described leftist and queer woman married to a trans man – “claims to have witnessed firsthand the manipulation of minors and their parents by medical professionals at the Center.
“The whistleblower reported that the Center’s ‘working assumption’ was to pursue aggressive and early intervention, despite research indicating that the vast majority of children with cross-gender identification desist by puberty.
“The whistleblower further detailed examples of the Center’s staff subverting parents’ wishes regarding their child’s medical treatment, including by testifying against them in court, and pressuring reluctant staff to ‘get on board, or get out.’”
Hawley’s letter put hospital and university officials on notice that, “Starting immediately, your institutions must take steps to preserve all records, written and electronic, regarding gender-related treatments performed on minors since the opening of the Center.”
The Lion asked Hawley if he expects broad support in the Senate for his bill protecting minors from gender transition drugs and surgical procedures.
“Well, I hope so,” he said. “I don’t know how you can be against it. You know, the left has become so enthralled to the radical, radical gender crazies on this – I mean, people who want to say that men should be able to play in women’s sports, who want to say that girls should have to have grown men in their locker rooms. That’s crazy stuff. It’s just crazy.
“The American people, I think, are making really clear – certainly the people in Missouri – that’s not what they want for their daughters. That’s not what they want for their sisters. It’s not what I want for my daughter or my wife.
“I think we need to draw the line, and I hope that every senator would support that.”
The senator said he has his full team looking into the St. Louis Children’s Hospital allegations.
“And I tell you what: Everything we find, we will make available to local law enforcement – to any law enforcement. And I salute the Missouri attorney general, who has a full-scale investigation underway. We have got to get the facts here, and we’ve got to protect kids in our state.”
The Lion asked Hawley if he believes any crimes have been committed, a matter Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is investigating as well.
“It’s possible,” Hawley said. “It’s hard to look at these kinds of surgeries, these treatments that were lied about – where they didn’t tell the parents, they didn’t tell the kids. The whistleblower says that the clinic would send kids to psychiatrists and the psychiatrists wouldn’t even evaluate them; they’d just sign a form letter. My gosh, at the very least that is a gross violation of professional standards of conduct.
“We need to find out if there have been criminal violations here. We need to find out if federal taxpayer money was used. I know for a fact that Wash-U gets taxpayer money, gobs of it. St. Louis Children’s Hospital gets taxpayer money, gobs of it. We need to find out what it was spent on.”
Hawley’s “Protecting Our Kids from Child Abuse Act” would expressly allow aggrieved minors and parents to sue pediatric gender clinics, medical practitioners and universities or hospitals affiliated with any such clinic. The bill also bans federal funds from going to any such procedures or institutions.
“What the American people are seeing take place at pediatric gender clinics in St. Louis and across the nation is appalling,” Hawley said in a statement announcing the bill. “Children who are harmed by these dangerous procedures, which are often irreversible and sterilizing, will now be able to fight back against those who perpetrated their abuse. And federal taxpayers will no longer be forced to foot the bill for abusive treatment.”
As for Big Tech and kids, Hawley explained his reasoning for a social media minimum age of 16 in his interview with The Lion:
“I think this would be a tremendous help for kids and parents. And I say that as the parent of three small kids myself. I don’t want my kids to feel they have to get on social media because every other kid is doing it. So, let’s just set it at 16.
“We know from studies that the younger the kid is, the worse the mental health impacts are from these social media platforms.
“By the way, the platforms know it too. But they go right on ahead, targeting our kids because they can make lots of money on it. Well, we should put a stop to that. No more targeting of kids.”