Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state’s Department of Family Protective Services to determine if genital surgery and other measures to change children’s gender rose to the level of child abuse.
— Brandon Waltens (@bwaltens) August 6, 2021
“DFPS’s determination should consider making explicit what is already implicit in the statute: that genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse,” said the governor’s letter to DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters.
In addition, Abbott said, the DFPS should consider the reporting requirements of professionals such as teachers, nurses and doctors who come in contact with children in danger of such abuse.
He said the state could make exceptions for any surgeries deemed medically necessary due to verifiable sex-development disorders.
As noted in the governor’s letter, female genital mutilation is already illegal in Texas under state law and was long considered illegal under a federal law passed in 1996 to combat the practice.
In 2018, a federal court found the law unconstitutional. Since then Congress has failed to pass follow-up legislation to remedy the court decision.
However, according to the American Constitution Society, 39 states had outlawed the the practice as of 2019.
Critics of the Texas governor’s efforts say that few doctors will perform gender-reassignment surgery on minors.
Still, Boston Children’s Hospital, which is a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, will do breast augmentations on children as young as 15 to reverse gender and vaginoplasty for 17 year-olds for the same purpose, according to their website.
So, legislators around the country are arguing that children, even with parent’s consent, are too young to make decisions that could last the rest of their life.
“The solution for children’s identification with the opposite sex isn’t to poison their bodies with megadoses of the wrong hormones, to chemically or surgically castrate and sterilize them, or to remove healthy breasts and reproductive organs,” Rep. Fred Deutsch, who sponsored a bill in South Dakota to prevent gender reassignment for minors, told CNN.
“The solution is compassionate care, and that doesn’t include catastrophically and irreversibly altering their bodies,” he said.