White House calls Texas directive on transgender children ‘troubling’

White House calls Texas directive on transgender children 'troubling'

Feb. 23 (UPI) — The White House on Wednesday said it was “dangerous” for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to order state agencies to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender children as “child abuse.”

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told The Dallas Morning News that Texas families should be able to seek the appropriate healthcare for their transgender children from doctors without the threat of prosecution.

“Conservative officials in Texas and other states across the country should stop inserting themselves into healthcare decisions that create needless tension between pediatricians and their patients,” she said. “No parent should face the agony of a politician standing in the way of accessing life-saving care for their child.”

Her comment comes one day after Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services directing the agency to investigate any reports of “sex change procedures” involving children. These “elective” procedures, he said, include gender-affirming surgeries and administration of drugs such as testosterone and estrogen.

His letter said licensed professionals who have direct contact with children — including doctors, nurses and teachers — are obligated to report such “abusive procedures.” Failing to do so would result in criminal penalties.

Abbott’s directive was spurred by an opinion Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton published Monday. An opinion in this instance is considered an interpretation of existing Texas law, not a change or new law.

He described gender-affirming care for transgender children as “the merging of medicine and misguided ideology.”

“There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” Paxton wrote. “The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki compared Abbott’s directive to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent push to ban teachers from mentioning LGBTQ issues in front of students.

“There are efforts in some states, not just Texas but also Florida … designed to target and attack the kids who need support most, LGBTQIA+ students who are already vulnerable to bullying and violence just for being themselves,” she said during Wednesday’s press briefing.

“This isn’t an isolated action as is evidenced by multiple states pursuing this. We’re seeing Republican leaders take actions to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn and, most troubling, what they can or cannot be.”

The White House isn’t the only governmental body to balk at Abbott’s directive and targeting of transgender children. Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said his office won’t prosecute such families.

“Governor Abbott and General Paxton are ignoring medical professionals and intentionally misrepresenting the law to the detriment of transgender children and their families,” he said in a statement.

“My office will not participate in these bad faith political games. As the lawyers handling these cases, we owe a duty of candor to the courts about what the law really says. We’ll continue to follow the laws on the books — not General Paxton’s politically motivated and legally incorrect ‘opinion.'”

Transgender Education Network of Texas Executive Director Emmett Schelling said Paxton’s opinion “is simply that, an opinion,” and not based on “a plethora of established and credible medical professional organizations” that have established best medical practices for transgender children.

“I hope to see the day that trans people will not be used as political pawns, especially our youth,” Schelling said. “We have some leadership in Texas that would undoubtedly rather see dead kids, than trans kids.”


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