The fragile facade of transgender ideology has cracked over the past year. Whistleblowers from within the medical profession have emerged to provide damning evidence that doctors are performing procedures based on shoddy scientific evidence under the label of “gender-affirming care,” as outlined in the WPATH Files and the Cass Review. Former patients who received “gender-affirming” care as adolescents have now detransitioned and are suing the doctors who cut off their breasts and put them on hormones that permanently damaged their bodies. Businesses ranging from Target to NFL teams are scaling back or eliminating Pride-themed merchandise and promotions. The public, too, is increasingly turning against transgender ideology. The tide is shifting.

The Left has adopted a new approach in response: political persecution of those speaking out against trans dogma. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice indicted Eithan Haim, a surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) who exposed the hospital’s secret continued use of irreversible sex-change procedures on minors after having publicly stated that it had stopped. By indicting Haim, the DOJ is seeking to silence future whistleblowers and to signal its disregard for the mounting evidence that gender-affirming care is harmful, and often irreversible.

Haim had anonymously sent City Journal’s Christopher Rufo documents proving that doctors at TCH were still prescribing hormone replacement therapy drugs and implanting puberty blockers in minor-age patients more than a year after the hospital announced it had stopped its pediatric gender-affirming care program. A month after Rufo published his article in May 2023, federal agents from the Department of Health and Human Services knocked on Haim’s door to let him know that he was a “potential target” in an investigation of alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This week, an unsealed indictment revealed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas is charging Haim with four felony counts of violating HIPAA. A press release on the indictment alleges that Haim accessed patient information “under false pretenses and with intent to cause malicious harm to TCH.”

According to a letter written by Haim’s lawyers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tina Ansari admitted that she hadn’t reviewed the purported evidence against Haim and was instead relying on what FBI agents told her. In the same discussion, Ansari insisted that the documents Haim sent to Rufo included children’s names, but nothing in the documents Rufo saw identified any individuals. All were redacted. The prosecutor then asked Haim to admit wrongdoing, telling him that he should apologize to the families of the children who received transgender medical interventions at TCH if he wanted her to help him avoid a felony prosecution. When this tactic failed, Ansari intimated that the families would sue if she didn’t bring criminal charges.

Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy for the Heritage Foundation and a former HIPAA regulator at the Department of Health and Human Services, called Haim’s prosecution “outrageous.” As Severino notes, Haim blew the whistle in good faith in a state “where it’s illegal to do these experimental surgeries on minors.” (In September 2023, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton announced that SB 14, a new law banning gender-transition procedures for minors in Texas, had gone into effect.)

Ansari’s zeal to prosecute Haim is especially strange, given her lack of knowledge of HIPAA law, as noted in a letter from Haim’s lawyers. In the past, Ansari has prosecuted cases involving doctors who falsified patient-care documents to receive higher insurance payouts, a health-center owner who scammed Medicare out of millions based on fraudulent claims, and a pharmacist who submitted false claims to Tricare and other federal insurance programs while pocketing $22 million. Yet she moved to indict Haim in this case, despite his having no profit motive, and despite the Texas Attorney General’s Office declining to act on the case for six months.

Dan Epstein, vice president of America First Legal, a conservative public-interest law group, calls the Haim indictment an overreach of epic proportions. “The fact that Texas state attorneys decided not to bring action on this case says that there wasn’t much public concern over it,” Epstein said. “This is a policy matter, and as a prosecutor if you’re enforcing legal policy and statute, you have to exercise some level of discretion.”

Paragraph 19 of the indictment alleges that Haim’s disclosures to Rufo resulted in “financial loss” to TCH, and that Haim blew the whistle out of “malicious intent.” Haim, for his part, observes that he swore an oath to “do no harm” and believed he had a duty to disclose alleged TCH’s secret gender clinic to prevent further harm to children undergoing procedures for which there is a lack of long-term evidence of efficacy (or safety).

This week, Vanessa Sivadge, a former registered nurse at TCH, came forward as a second whistleblower, alleging not only that the hospital was running its gender clinic in secret but also that doctors were illegally billing Texas’s Medicaid program to pay for the transgender medical interventions. Sivadge had spoken with Rufo for an article last year as an anonymous whistleblower, denouncing TCH’s gender-affirming care treatments for minors. Shortly after she did that, two FBI agents knocked on her door and, according to Sivadge, told her that she was a “person of interest” in the investigation involving Haim. They threatened to “make her life difficult” if she tried to protect him.

Unfortunately, these examples of politically motivated prosecutions aren’t new and will likely continue. Case in point: the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has chosen to prosecute cases like that of 75-year-old Paulette Harlow, recently sentenced to two years in prison for a demonstration at an abortion clinic. Meantime, pro-Hamas demonstrators who violated D.C. law by covering their faces with masks and keffiyehs and defaced statues near the White House run free, and anti-Israel protesters who barricaded themselves in Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall have seen criminal charges against them dropped.

Texas Children’s Hospital is a flashpoint. Haim faces up to a decade in prison and a $250,000 fine. What happens next could discourage future whistleblowers in the health-care industry.

“When it comes to health care fraud, you prosecute those that are going to have a strong deterrent effect and where prosecutorial resources justified spending taxpayer dollars on the matter,” says Epstein. “And here, I think, this is a clear case of prosecutorial overreach.”

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images


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