Texas Governor Greg Abbott has instructed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents for potential child abuse if the department suspects their child is undergoing “gender-transitioning procedures.” That includes gender-affirming care, such as administering reversible medication to delay puberty, which doctors say can give transgender youth time to consider their full range of options. The governor said all licensed professionals, including doctors, nurses and teachers, must report any suspected cases to DFPS and not doing so could subject the professional to criminal penalties. Meanwhile, other state agencies would investigate medical facilities suspected of providing treatment.
Below is a statement by Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“Governor Abbott’s directive comes on the heels of the Texas attorney general issuing a written opinion defining gender-affirming care as child abuse. I find it ridiculous that the governor and attorney general think they know more than the Texas Pediatric Society, Medical Association and Academy of Family Physicians—all of which opposed the legislature’s efforts to limit gender-affirming care. The gender-affirming care at issue is proven to be a life saving measure for trans youth. According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, ‘Over 45,000 transgender youth live in states where laws have passed or been proposed to prohibit youth from accessing gender-affirming care. Yet, gender-affirming care is associated with reduced prevalence of suicide thoughts and attempts for those who receive the care they need.’
“The governor’s directive seems more aimed at scoring political points than addressing the health and well-being of children.
“This directive is a bigoted attack against transgender youth and their parents, prompting senseless and harmful investigations. The governor and attorney general like to talk about ‘freedom,’ but they won’t allow people to be who they are without imposing their own ill-informed views and prejudiced values on youth, parents and caregivers in Texas.
“Everyone is at heightened risk—children, parents and professionals. The directive puts trans kids at double jeopardy, either by being outed through mandatory reporting to potentially bigoted parents or being removed from the care of their gender-affirming parents.”