In the GOP's latest efforts to target trans youth and criminalize and restrict access to potentially life-saving gender-affirming care, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott has ordered state agencies to look in to classifying things like hormone therapy and puberty blockers as child abuse.
In a letter laying out his position to the state's Department of Family and Protective Services, Abbott called for a “prompt and thorough” investigation into whether or not transitioning procedures qualify as child abuse under Texas law and whether or not teachers, nurses, doctors and other professionals could be held criminally liable for failing to report.
“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,” the letter reads. Abbott goes on to further threaten that "Texas law also imposes a duty on DFPS to investigate the parents of a child who is subjected to these abusive gender-transitioning procedures, and on other state agencies to investigate licensed facilities where such procedures may occur.”
The letter comes as just a few days after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton put out a non-binding legal opinion outlining basically the same position literally word for word that gender-affirming care somehow amounts to child abuse. Abbott and Paxton have been on crusade against trans kids for months now, having previously tried (and failed) to get state lawmakers to pass a law that would send parents supporting their child's transition to prison. This is also coming from the state where lawmakers have also previously tried to block trans people from getting medical care, using the bathroom and playing sports.
As ridiculous as it all sounds, its worth pointing out that despite all the Republican fear-mongering over "genital mutilation," minors typically aren't recommended for things like gender reassignment surgery and are instead usually advised to begin socially transitioning at first. Most medical and mental health experts agree that when trans youth receive gender-affirming care they are generally less depressed, less at risk of committing suicide and report feeling happier and safer at school when they're fully allowed to be themselves. (A concept!)
Thankfully, it looks like Texas' DFPS isn't going to give in to Abbott and Paxton's strange obsession with trans kids' bodies, with a lawyer for the agency stating that "my office won’t be participating in this political game. We’ll continue to follow the laws on the books — not @KenPaxtonTX’s politically motivated and legally wrong ‘opinion.’"
.@GovAbbott As the lawyer who represents DFPS in civil child abuse cases in Harris County, I can tell you my office won\u2019t be participating in this political game. We\u2019ll continue to follow the laws on the books\u2014not @KenPaxtonTX\u2019s politically motivated and legally wrong \u2018opinion\u2019https://twitter.com/GregAbbott_TX/status/1496114209238794247\u00a0\u2026— Christian D. Menefee (@Christian D. Menefee) 1645549800
Abbott's letter comes the same week that Florida lawmakers are trying to push through similar anti-LGBTQ legislation prohibiting any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in the state's primary schools. Dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics, the piece of legislation has garnered the support of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and has just passed the state's House of Representatives despite being largely condemned by the White House and other prominent figures.
“Republican governors and legislators have targeted innocent children solely aiming to exist as their truest selves," DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement. "Medical experts have reaffirmed the reality that gender-affirming care saves lives. But instead, Governor Abbott is cynically using Texas children as a political weapon and perpetuating senseless hatred towards the transgender and gender non-conforming community."
Harrison went on to add that, “we cannot be silent in the face of injustice and we must protect our nation’s children from Republican extremism. I admire the courage of the LGBTQ+ community in the face of an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills moving across the country and am proud to lead the Democratic Party that continues to fight alongside them against these shameful attacks.”
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Photo via Getty
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