Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has now ordered state groups to look into cases of gender-dysphoric children having “sex change” operations as being child abuse, in accordance with a state attorney general’s office opinion earlier this week.
In a message to the Dept. of Family and Protective Services issued this week, Abbott noted the state agency is “responsible for protecting kids from abuse.” The governor said that given Texas law, “nurses, doctors and teachers” are forced to report cases of alleged abuse and that there were “penalties” for professionals who do not do so.
“Texas law imposes rules upon all licensed professionals who are in contact with kids who could be subject to abuse, including nurses, doctors, and teachers, and gives criminal penalties for failure to not reporting this abuse,” Abbott stated.
His letter was copied to numerous other state groups, including the Texas Medical Board, the HHS Commission, and the Texas Education Agency.
The Dallas News first mentioned Abbott’s letter, published one day after the Texas A.G. Ken Paxton put out an opinion that decided some chemical and medical operations recommended for transgenders constituted abuse when done on kids. The A.G.’s opinion is not totally legally binding, but retired officials told reporters that there was a general expectation that leaders will follow the orders.
The specific “sex-change operations” identified in Paxton’s opinion are castration, surgeries to remove the reproductive system, surgery to remove male genitals, plastic surgeries to create fake genitals, so-called “top surgery” to remove a female’s breasts, or any procedure that removes a “non-diseased body part” from kids when not medically necessary.
Paxton also said that giving cross-sex hormones to kids including puberty blockers, unnatural amounts of testosterone for females, or unnatural amounts of estrogen for males possibly constitutes child abuse.
These decisions are qualified with the acceptance that in some cases these operations are medically necessary for kids with a “disorder of sex development” or who “don’t have normal sex chromosomes for female or male” as found by medical testing.
The effect of the governor’s order is not yet determined. It has gotten immediate opposition from liberal transgender advocates, and some far-left prosecutors have said they won’t follow the A.G.’s interpretation of the laws.