Texas Attorney General Declares Puberty Blockers and Gender Transition Surgeries ‘Child Abuse’

Doctors performing surgery

The performance of surgical and chemical procedures on children for the purpose of gender transition “can legally constitute child abuse” under Texas law, declared Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last week in a formal attorney general opinion.

Paxton responded to questions from State Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, who asked whether “sex change” surgeries performed on children, including castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, penectomy, phalloplasty, vaginoplasty, mastectomies, and removal of otherwise healthy body parts constitute child abuse.

Krause also sought Paxton’s opinion on whether the provision or dispensing of puberty-blockers or cross-sex hormone drugs to children, which “induce transient or permanent infertility,” also constitutes child abuse.

Paxton responded in the executive summary of his opinion:

Based on the analysis herein, each of the “sex change” procedures and treatments enumerated above, when performed on children, can legally constitute child abuse under several provisions of chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code.

Through an analysis under the Family Code, the attorney general concluded gender transition surgeries and hormonal treatments can cause “mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning.”

Paxton continued that because the surgeries and treatments used to perform gender transition on children often result in permanent sterilization, they deprive them of the “fundamental right to procreation.”

Ryan T. Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, tweeted about the transgender movement:

“Each of the procedures and treatments you ask about can constitute child abuse when performed on minor children,” the attorney general wrote, adding that “it is important to note that it remains medically impossible to truly change the sex of an individual because this is determined biologically at conception.”

“No doctor can replace a fully functioning male sex organ with a fully functioning female sex organ (or vice versa),” Paxton observed. “In reality, these ‘sex change’ procedures seek to destroy a fully functioning sex organ in order to cosmetically create the illusion of a sex change.”

The attorney general noted as well that recent research has shown “no evidence” to support the claim by some LGBTQ activists that children and adolescents with gender dysphoria, or who claim to have a gender identity that is incompatible with their biological sex, need “affirmation” of their identity via medical intervention in order to experience positive long-term mental health outcomes.

The Dallas Morning News described Paxton’s opinion as “a dramatic change contrary to medical standards that if implemented could make Texas one of the most aggressive states in targeting trans youth access to healthcare.”

The news outlet published a letter dated August 16, 2021, from Dr. Seth Kaplan, former president of the Texas Pediatric Society, in which Kaplan asserted to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:

Medical care for transgender children and adolescents is evidence-based and has proven effectiveness.

As physicians, we must be able to practice medicine that is informed by our years of medical education, training, experience, and available evidence, freely and without threat of punishment. Providing patient care that helps rather than harms is our duty according to the oaths we took as doctors.

“Gender-affirming care is part of the comprehensive primary care we provide to our patients and should not be criminalized or stigmatized,” Kaplan added.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]



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