Investigate Gender Transition Procedures as ‘Child Abuse’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered state agencies to investigate reports of gender reassignment procedures on children as child abuse, which could lead to prosecution of teachers, doctors, and parents of transgender children who do not report the procedures. Abbot sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family Affairs and Welfare, with instructions to “investigate promptly and thoroughly any reports of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas.” The letter was copied to several other government agencies.

The letter states that prohibited “sex reassignment” treatments include sex reassignment surgery, removal of body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiological doses of testosterone or estrogen. Supraphysiological means more than what seems natural.

The letter states that “all licensed professionals who come into direct contact with children” could face criminal charges if they fail to report instances of gender-based procedures, including doctors, nurses, and teachers. Parents of children undergoing procedures, as well as institutions where procedures are performed, may be examined.

Abbott said he was acting in response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s recent opinion that “a number of so-called gender reassignment procedures constituted child abuse under current Texas law.” Dallas Morning News from the opinions of the Attorney General does not have the force of law, but the heads of departments must follow them.

It is not clear what immediate effect Paxton’s opinion or Abbott’s letter will have. Dallas Morning News said government agencies have not responded, and some prosecutors say they will not follow the letter’s directive.

“My office will not engage in these unfair political games,” Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee said in a statement. Dallas Morning News. “As lawyers handling these cases, we have an obligation to speak frankly to the courts about what the law really says. We will continue to follow the laws in force and not the politically motivated and legally incorrect “opinion” of General Paxton.”

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Welfare said the agency will investigate reports of abuse but does not expect a current policy to change due to Paxton’s opinion.

“We will follow the laws of Texas, as explained [by Paxton’s opinion]” There are currently no pending child abuse investigations related to the procedures described in this report,” spokesman Patrick Crimmins said.

The letter was copied to the Texas Medical Board, the Texas Education Agency, and other state government departments.

BUT report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law reported that about 14,000 Texans aged 13 to 17 identified themselves as transgender in 2017. The report states that about 125,000 people in Texas identified as transgender at the time.

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