Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) wants parents to be investigated for “child abuse” if their sons or daughters are trans.
The purported small-government Republican on Tuesday instructed the state’s child welfare agency to conduct a “prompt and thorough” investigation into ”‘sex change’ procedures” for minors in the state, the latest in a right-wing frenzy about transgender children.
Abbott’s directive follows a non-binding legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, published Monday, in which Paxton argued that gender-affirming treatments, such as puberty blockers and hormone therapies, constitute child abuse.
Major medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society, regard both therapies as highly beneficial in the treatment of gender dysphoria, and leading pediatric groups routinely criticize anti-trans bills that block access to gender-affirming medical care as harmful to children.
Seeking to bolster his argument, Paxton paid particular attention to more invasive surgical interventions, ignoring the fact that U.S. medical guidelines largely prohibit such operations on anyone younger than 18.
Abbott cited Paxton’s opinion in a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), warning that any licensed professional who has “direct contact with children” could face criminal charges for failing to report these treatments as child abuse.
“At this time, there are no pending investigations of child abuse involving the procedures described in that opinion.”
A spokesperson for the agency told HuffPost it intends to follow through on Abbott’s directive but noted there’s not much to actually investigate.
“At this time, there are no pending investigations of child abuse involving the procedures described in that opinion,” the agency said in an emailed statement.
“If any such allegations are reported to us, they will be investigated under existing policies of Child Protective Investigations.”
During Abbott’s tenure, Texas has grown increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ community, even going so far as to remove a webpage providing resources to LGBTQ youth from the DFPS website last year.