Texas Governor, AG: Life-Altering Treatment of ‘Transgender’ Children is Child Abuse

Texas Gov Greg Abbott speaks during a news conferenced about migrant children detentions Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/AP Photo

GOP Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked state agencies to investigate any reports of children undergoing treatment to alter their biological development shortly after Attorney General Ken Paxton defined such treatment as child abuse.

Transgender advocates call giving children drugs that block the onset of puberty necessary to “gender-affirming” medical care — or care that advances the idea that one can choose their sex, alter their biological makeup, and even body-altering surgery.

“Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse,” Abbott wrote in a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

The letter comes after Paxton issued Opinion No. KP-0401 last week that called treating minors to extreme treatments is child abuse.

Abbott wrote that “it is already against the law to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen.” 

“Some political groups who oppose gender-related treatments for young people say the stakes are simply too high,” the New York Times reported.

“Minors are prohibited from purchasing paint, cigarettes, alcohol, or even getting a tattoo,” Jonathan Covey, director of policy for the group Texas Values, said in the Times report. “We cannot allow minors or their parents to make life-altering decisions on body-mutilating procedures and irreversible hormonal treatments.”

The Times reported favorably on “gender-affirming” treatment for “transgender” children, including asking for comment from Rachel Levine, a man who is living as a woman and a former pediatrician who Joe Biden picked to be assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Levine called the treatments “life-saving.”

“Gender-affirming care for transgender youth is essential and can be lifesaving,” Levine said. “Our nation’s leading pediatricians support evidence-based, gender-affirming care for transgender young people.”

Buried in the Times story is some of the risks of this kind of “care:”

Some treatments used in gender-related care carry medical risks. Puberty-blocking drugs, which suppress the production of testosterone and estrogen, can weaken bone development, though evidence suggests it recovers once puberty starts. If blockers are used at an early stage of puberty and a teenager pursues hormone therapy, the drug regimens can lead to fertility loss. The standards of care for transgender health therefore recommend that patients and their families be counseled on how to preserve fertility by delaying the use of blockers if having children is important to them.

The standards also recommend that doctors and families wait until the teenager has reached the age of majority, which is 18 in Texas, before pursuing irreversible genital surgeries.

The Times also got a statement from Adri Pérez, “a policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas who uses gender-neutral pronouns,” saying the governor and attorney general’s actions “politically motivated,” and was quoted with preferred pronouns.

“Gender-affirming care saved my life,” they said in a statement. “Trans kids today deserve the same opportunity by receiving the highest standard of care.”

An article on this subject in the Hill said the Dallas Morning News reported that Abbott’s letter was also shared with other Texas agencies, including the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Medical Board, and the Texas Education Agency.

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