Texas Criminalizes Parents for Providing Medical Care to Their Transgender Children

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered that medical and public professionals report parents of children they suspect are receiving gender-affirming treatment to child protective services. These parents are to be held responsible for child abuse, and their families potentially separated.

He based his order on State Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion letter, where he argues that transition care such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender affirmation surgery could be considered child abuse.

As a result of Abbott’s order, teachers and doctors could face criminal charges if they do not report parents they know to be assisting their children in obtaining transition care. Also, psychologists are barred from authorizing certain medical care for their transgender minor patients.

As a result of this rule, transgender youth are being barred from accessing potentially life-saving treatment. Children face the fear of retaliation against their parents from professionals who are supposed to be supporting them, not criminalizing them, and the order is intervening in medical care decisions that should be made between healthcare providers and patients. Politicians are vilifying transgender healthcare and adding to the pressures of being transgender in society.

Since the order, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit defending parents referred to as Jane and John Doe against Governor Abbott and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). On Mar. 2, District Judge Amy Clark Meachum temporarily blocked investigations and set a Mar. 11 hearing on whether further restrictions should be placed on DFPS.

There must be an end to the attacks on transgender health. We must fight back against all orders that deny transgender care!