Texas Governor Announces Transgender Reassignment Surgery As “Child Abuse”

By: Tara Thompson

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The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbot, has stated that medical treatments for transgender youth should be considered “Child abuse.” 

Attorney General Ken Paxton agreed with Abbot, saying providing medical treatments like puberty-suppressing drugs and hormones to transgender teens should be investigated as child abuse. Abbot specified about reporting requirements applied to “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.”

While the state’s child welfare agency has said they will investigate such claims, some direct attorneys have stated they will not enforce the opinion. Though Abbott’s effort to criminalize medical care for transgender youth is new in Texas, twenty-one states introduced similar bills last year, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California. Arkansas previously passed a law making it illegal for doctors and clinicians to offer puberty blockers and hormones to adolescents and also banning insurance from covering care. 

Due to political pressure, the University of Southwestern Medical Center and Childrens Medical Center in Dallas both closed the only clinic for transgender youth in November. A growing number of transgender adolecents have sought medical treatments in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transgender teens are at high risk for attempting suicide. Initial medical research has suggested that adolescents who receive such medical treatments have improved mental health.

Adri Pérez, a policy and advocacy strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas who uses gender-neutral pronouns, called the governor’s stance politically motivated and said it could prevent young trans people from getting the medical care they urgently need statig “Gender-affirming care saved my life. Trans kids today deserve the same opportunity by receiving the highest standard of care.” 

Our governor of California, Gavin Newsom, also strongly disagrees with the States decision on this topic. In a recent twitter post on the 23rd, Newsom stated “Trans kids and their families should be celebrated – not targeted by the state! They are heroes. This order is a direct assault on their wellbeing. To fearful families in Texas right now – California’s door is always open to you.”

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