Lawsuit Against AL's Gender Surgery Ban for Minors Reveals Rachel Levine Acted to Remove Age Restrictions

AP Photo/John Hanna

Document discovery in a lawsuit involving the State of Alabama's right to block transgender surgeries for minors has revealed the Biden administration's complicity in pushing the transgender agenda on the American people.

Newly unsealed documents in a lawsuit against Alabama’s transgender surgery ban for minors revealed the Biden administration lobbied against including minimum age requirements in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) standards of care for surgeries.

Said lawsuit is Boe v. Marshall, filed against the State of Alabama by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, high-powered law firms Lightfoot, Franklin, & White LLC, King & Spalding LLP, and a host of others. These typical leftist actors are representing four families who claim they have transgender adolescents, an Alabama pediatrician, and a clinical psychologist with the University of Alabama Birmingham medical system who want the Alabama Vulnerable Child Protection Act (VCAP) overturned. Signed into law in 2022 by Governor Kay Ivey, the law bans so-called gender-affirming surgeries, hormones, and puberty blockers from any youth under the age of 19. Along with the above organizations, attorneys general in states like California, Colorado, and Massachusetts also joined the suit to oppose the law.

In May of 2022, the plaintiffs sought an injunction to halt the enforcement of the law, which was granted by U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Alabama Liles Burke. Burke said when issuing the preliminary injunction that the state had produced no credible evidence showing transitioning medications are "experimental." Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall appealed the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the lower court's ruling was overturned in January. In May, Marshall filed a motion for summary judgment with the court, declaring the 11th Circuit ruling reinforced the state's right to impose its law. WPATH received a mention in Alabama's summary judgment motion.

The state also attacked the plaintiffs’ relied-upon medical associations, particularly the guidelines provided by WPATH.

“In short, neither the Court nor Alabama need treat WPATH as anything other than the activist interest group it has shown itself to be,” the motion states.

These unsealed documents appear to be proving this statement. There has been no lack of shenanigans surrounding this lawsuit. The Department of Justice sought to quash a subpoena for WPATH documents from being included in the discovery, even though these are the major experts the plaintiffs have built their case around. Judge Burke denied their motion. With what has been revealed in the documents, we now understand why the DOJ fought vigorously to have them excluded. It seems Assistant Secretary for HHS Admiral Rachel Levine and his/her/its chief of staff were in deep discussions with WPATH about making some crucial changes to their guidelines.

Some discovery and deposition documents in the case were unsealed on Monday night. One of those documents showed internal communications of unnamed WPATH members developing a standard of care guidelines discussing lobbying efforts in 2022 from Biden administration officials such as Admiral Rachel Levine, who serves as the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Biden’s cabinet.

“The issue of ages and treatment has been quite controversial (mainly for surgery) and it has come up again. We sent the document to Admiral Levine…She likes the SOC-8 very much but she was very concerned that having ages (mainly for surgery) will affect access to health care for trans youth and maybe adults too,” one WPATH member wrote. “Apparently, the situation in the USA is terrible, and she and the Biden administration worried that having ages in the document will make matters worse. She asked us to remove them. We have the WPATH executive committee in this meeting and we explained to her that we could not just remove them.”

591-24 - Cantor Supp. App. A by Caleb Taylor

Another WPATH communication mentioned lobbying efforts by Levine’s chief of staff. 

“Sarah Boateng, who is Adm. Levine’s chief of staff (said the) biggest concern is the section below in the Adolescent Chapter that lists specific minimum ages for treatment, she is confident, based on the rhetoric she is hearing in D.C., and from what we have already seen, that these specific listings of ages, under 18, will result in devastating legislation for trans care,” another WPATH member said. “She wonders if the specific ages can be taken out and perhaps an adjunct document could be created that is published or distributed in a way that is less visible than the SOC8, is the best way to go.”

WPATH later removed age minimums at their next annual conference, according to the document. 

This smells of HHS putting its thumb on the scales in order to achieve its ends. Most recently, there's the issue of plaintiffs' lawyers being called on the carpet for what looks like judge shopping.

Eleven attorneys involved in LGBTQ rights litigation must appear before an Alabama federal judge beginning on Monday to determine if they should be punished for attempting to steer to other judges their challenge to the state's ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

In an unusual move, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke, an appointee of Republican former President Donald Trump, slated three days of hearings in Montgomery in which the attorneys must demonstrate why they should not be sanctioned for misconduct for "judge shopping."

The first to go before him will be Michael Shortnacy, formerly at law firm King & Spalding and now with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and Kathleen Hartnett of Cooley. Others, including lawyers with the ACLU and other advocacy groups, are scheduled to appear on Thursday and Friday.

The proceedings followed the unsealing in March of a report by a three-judge panel from each of Alabama's district courts that said the 11 lawyers attempted to circumvent procedures designed to have cases randomly assigned a judge.

What looked to the plaintiffs as a clear 14th Amendment violation has now become more complicated as evidence mounts of the damage being done through minors receiving these medical interventions to address gender dysphoria. In an unexpected move, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case against a similar 2023 Tennessee law that bans minor gender transition surgeries and puberty blockers. Study after study is being produced that confirms the dangers of having minors undergo these procedures. While this industry and the legacy media want to continue to paint detransitioners as a rare occurrence, individuals like Chloe Cole, who decided she was transgender at 13, went through the process of blockers and had a double mastectomy by 15, and then regretted it and chose to detransition when she was 16, are raising their voices against the cavalier (and lucrative) practice of immediately transitioning children who are not of the legal age to even get a tattoo or a driver's license. As my colleague Jeff Charles wrote,

At this point, it seems like almost every month, a new study emerges showing that progressives are lying about the efficacy of “gender-affirming care.” Unfortunately, their lies are causing great harm to those who believe them – especially when it comes to children. However, at some point, this is a matter they won’t be able to ignore – especially when their victims decide to speak out and fight to hold people accountable for pushing this agenda. 

These damning WPATH documents, along with the court cases, could usher in that reckoning.


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