State Watch

Hawley launches investigation into Missouri children’s hospital, demands records of ‘gender-related treatments’ for youth

Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) office will begin investigating the Washington University Pediatric Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the senator announced Thursday. In a letter sent to the university’s chancellor and hospital leadership, he also demanded the medical records of minors referred to the center be handed over.

“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,” Hawley wrote in a letter to Washington University in St. Louis Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, St. Louis Children’s Hospital President Trish M. Lollo, and Christopher Lewis and Sarah Garwood, the co-directors of the hospital’s transgender center. “Additional oversight inquiries and outreach will follow.”

Hawley on Thursday said his investigation stems from a report published the same day in The Free Press by Jamie Reed, a former case manager with the hospital’s transgender center, that alleged years of potential malpractice. The center’s treatment of minors, Reed wrote, “is morally and medically appalling.”

Hawley in the letter sent Thursday wrote that “accountability is coming” and asked the letter’s recipients to provide his office with information related to the hospital’s treatment of transgender youth, including the number of minors that have been prescribed puberty blockers and hormone therapy and the number of cases where “serious medical complications” have been reported.

“As Senator for the State of Missouri, it is my responsibility to fully investigate these serious allegations,” Hawley wrote in the letter.

Hawley’s office is also requesting the number and percentage of minors treated at the Washington University Pediatric Transgender Center that have de-transitioned, or come to identify as their sex assigned at birth, and any sources of funding — federal and non-federal — the center receives for “gender-related treatments.”

Hawley’s office has also instructed Martin and hospital leadership to name all individuals and entities — including but not limited to parents, schools, psychologists and therapists — to which the center has provided “training, funding or any other assistance.”

The hospital’s transgender center is also being asked to prove that it has complied with federal conscience protections including the Church amendments of 1973 — legislation passed by Congress in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade that allows providers to decline to perform a “sterilization procedure” or abortion if it is inconsistent with their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Hawley in Thursday’s letter additionally asked the center to provide his office with information related to how minor patients and their parents are typically informed about the known medical risks associated with gender-affirming medical care.

In a tweet on Thursday following Hawley’s announcement, the senator wrote that he had been assured by Martin that Washington University will be cooperating fully with his office’s inquiry. Hawley added that Martin said “he was appalled” by Reed’s allegations.

The university in a statement on Thursday said it was similarly alarmed.

“We are taking this matter very seriously and have already begun the process of looking into the situation to ascertain the facts,” the university said. “As always, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our patients. We are committed to providing compassionate, family-centered care to all of our patients and we hold our medical practitioners to the highest professional and ethical standards.”

Also on Thursday, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) confirmed that a multiagency investigation into St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s transgender center had begun late last month when Reed provided his office with a sworn affidavit about her time working at the hospital.

“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,” Bailey said in a statement.

Missouri is one of 26 states to introduce bills to ban gender-affirming health care for transgender youth this year, with at least eight separate measures under consideration in the Missouri House and Senate, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Tags American Civil Liberties Union Gender-affirming care investigation Josh Hawley Josh Hawley Missouri Roe v. Wade St. Louis transgender youth Washington University in St. Louis

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