The prescription of puberty blockers and the performance of sex-change surgery on transgender-identifying children can legally be defined as child abuse under Texas law, the state’s attorney general says in a new opinion.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, released the opinion on February 18 in response to a question from state Rep. Matt Krause about the use of common medical procedures on trans-identifying minors. Krause, a Republican, chairs the House Committee on General Investigating.
Specifically, Krause asked Paxton whether the administration of puberty blockers and the performance of such surgeries as mastectomies, vasectomies and hysterectomies on minors constitutes child abuse under Texas law. Paxton said it can.
Puberty blockers can leave a minor infertile.
“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,” Paxton wrote. “When considering questions of child abuse, a court would likely consider the fundamental right to procreation, issues of physical and emotional harm associated with these procedures and treatments, consent laws in Texas and throughout the country, and existing child abuse standards.”
Paxton said the procedures can violate Texas law because they:
- 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.”
- “caus[e] or permit the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning.”
- cause a “physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child.”
- involve a “‘failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child[,]’ particularly by parents, counselors, and physicians.”
“There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” Paxton said in a statement. “The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Nicky Ebbage
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.