Conservatives are hailing a decision by Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordering authorities to investigate groups performing “sex change” procedures on minors, referring to the practice as “child abuse.”
Abbott’s order follows State Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Monday’s opinion.
In a letter sent Tuesday to the Department of Family and Protective Services, Abbott asserted the agency is “responsible for protecting children from abuse.”
The Governor also noted that under Texas law, “doctors, nurses, and teachers” are required to report abuse and warned there are “criminal penalties” for licensed professionals who fail to do so.
According to Blaze Media, Abbott’s letter was copied to several state agencies, including the Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Medical Board, and Texas Education Agency.
According to Blaze Media’s report, Paxton’s opinion determined that certain medical and chemical procedures recommended for transgender people constitute illegal abuse when performed on children.
The Attorney General’s opinion is not legally binding. However, former state officials told the Dallas News, “there is a general expectation that agency directors will follow the ruling.”
Paxton’s opinion found that “sex-change procedures,” including “castration, surgery to remove male genitals, surgeries to remove the female reproductive system, plastic surgeries to construct artificial genitals, so-called ‘top surgery’ to remove female breasts, or any procedure that removes a healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue from children when not medically necessary” constitutes abuse.
The “abuse” classification also pertains to those providing “cross-sex hormones to children including puberty blockers, unnatural doses of testosterone for females, and unnatural doses of estrogen for males.”
In discussing the opinion, Abbot qualified his order noting that in rare circumstances, some of the procedures noted in his order are medically necessary.
Abbot noted there are times when children suffer from a “medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development” or “do not have the normal sex chromosome structure for male or female” as determined by medical testing. In such cases, appropriate treatments will not be prosecuted.
Conservatives and advocates for children’s rights applaud Paxton’s opinion and Abbott’s ruling. However, not all groups are supportive.
Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee said on Tuesday:
“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.'”
According to the Press Herald, the Travis District and County Attorneys declared “they will not prosecute child abuse cases when gender dysphoric children are given so-called ‘gender-affirming’ treatment.”
Attorney Delia Garza sees Abbott’s order as a political ploy: “The Republican leadership of this state is trying to turn loving and supportive parents into criminals, and this office will play no part in it.”
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services note they are supportive of the order. DFPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins’ statement notes: “We will follow Texas law as explained [by Paxton’s opinion]. At this time, there are no pending investigations of child abuse involving the procedures described in that opinion.”
Critics note that Abbot’s order seems to contradict recommendations from the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
However, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health notes that “sex-change surgeries are not recommended until a patient has reached the legal age of maturity and has lived continuously for at least a year in the gender role they identify with.”
Terry Shilling, President of the American Principles Project (APP) agrees with the ruling, noting that procedures that “permanently sterilize [children] radically alter the course of their lives. And any person who assists or encourages minors in pursuing these ends is committing child abuse, period.”
Shilling added: “The APP strongly commends AG Paxton for courageously standing up for Texas’ children in the face of these attacks. And we urge other state attorneys general to follow his lead to protect the innocence of our nation’s kids from the woke ideologues and Big Pharma executives eager to exploit them.”
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