Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) announced on Thursday an official investigation into a Missouri transgender medical center's "egregious abuses and potential malpractice regarding minors," in response to an explosive whistleblower report on the center's "morally and medically appalling" practices.
Hawley's investigation into the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital sprang from an exposé that Jamie Reed, a self-described "queer woman" and former case manager at the center, published the same day. Reed detailed her four-year experience at the center and concerns over the center's rush to give minors "permanent" and "harming" hormone treatments, "lack of formal protocols," and "morally and medically appalling" behavior toward children.
"This is a sickening account of forced sterilization and child abuse. Happening in Missouri at an institution that receives federal taxpayer funds," Hawley said in a tweet linking to Reed's article.
Missouri attorney general Andrew Bailey has already begun a multi-agency investigation since receiving Reed's sworn affidavit two weeks ago, Bailey's office confirmed publicly on Thursday.
"We have received disturbing allegations that individuals at the Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital have been harming hundreds of children each year, including by using experimental drugs on them," Bailey said. "We take this evidence seriously and are thoroughly investigating to make sure children are not harmed by individuals who may be more concerned with a radical social agenda than the health of children."
Republicans in the Missouri state legislature have already filed a bill to protect children from gender transition procedures. While the bill sits in committee, state Senate president pro tempore Caleb Rowden says Republicans are unified on this issue.
"We're gonna take action on that issue," Rowden said. "Our caucus is very united behind the idea that minors should not have gender reassignment surgery taken before the age of 18."
Missouri is only one of 22 state legislatures investigating the potential harms of gender reassignment treatment on minors. Utah's Spencer Cox (R.) this year became the first governor to sign such legislation into law. Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt (R.) urged his legislature to prioritize a similar bill, sparking "Trans Lives Matter" protesters to storm the state Capitol earlier this week.
"By the time I departed [the St. Louis center], I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to 'do no harm,'" Reed wrote. "Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care."
Reed was appalled to see her medical center push hormone treatments and sex change procedures on children who "are simply not capable of fully grasping" the consequences, the Daily Caller reports:
Reed … said doctors rushed children into irreversible sex change procedures, which can cause infertility and a host of other side effects, often against the wishes of parents, in a Thursday article in The Free Press. …
Reed worried that patients and parents were not adequately warned of the side effects of medications prescribed during gender transitions; multiple patients experienced vaginal laceration while on testosterone because the drug thins the vaginal tissue, including one patient whose vagina was torn through during intercourse, Reed wrote. Other side effects include infertility, painfully enlarged clitoris, and liver toxicity.
The state's Department of Social Services and Division of Professional Registration, which oversees medical licensing, will assist the investigation.
"The Division’s licensing boards will investigate the complaints they receive as part of this investigation," DPR director Sheila Solon said, "and take any necessary action against the licenses of Missouri professionals in violation of the boards’ statutory and regulatory authority to ensure health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Missouri."
Washington University said they are "alarmed" by Reed's allegations and are taking the matter "very seriously."
"We ... have already begun the process of looking into the situation to ascertain the facts. As always, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our patients," the university said in a statement Thursday.
Published under: Child Abuse , Josh Hawley , Medical Ethics , Missouri , St. Louis , Transgender , Transgenderism