Medical, legal experts say Texas AG Ken Paxton 'warped' facts in opinion on transgender kids

Following the release of Paxton's opinion, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas child welfare officials to investigate families of transgender children.

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click to enlarge Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion in February classifying pediatric gender affirming care for minors as child abuse. - Courtesy Photo / Texas Attorney General's Office
Courtesy Photo / Texas Attorney General's Office
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion in February classifying pediatric gender affirming care for minors as child abuse.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s controversial opinion classifying gender-affirming care for minors as child abuse "warped" scientific evidence to suit his political aims, according to a new report by top medical and legal experts.

Paxton's February legal opinion cited debunked research, ignored mainstream medical evidence and included false information, according to the study's seven authors, who  include legal and medical experts from Yale Law School, the Yale School of Medicine and University of Texas Southwestern.

“The repeated errors and omissions in the AG Opinion are so consistent and so extensive that it is difficult to believe that the opinion represents a good-faith effort to draw legal conclusions based on the best scientific evidence," the authors wrote. “It seems apparent that the AG Opinion is, rather, motivated by bias and crafted to achieve a preordained goal: to deny gender-affirming care to transgender youth."

Paxton's office was unavailable for immediate comment.

Following Paxton's opinion, Gov. Greg Abbott directed Texas' child welfare agency to investigate parents providing gender-affirming care to children or teenagers. Paxton and Abbott, both Republicans, are running for reelection this year and have made anti-transgender rhetoric part of their campaigns.

Since Abbott's order, Texas has launched at least nine investigations into families, all on hold while a legal challenge brought by the parents and psychiatrist of a transgender teen plays out. Paxton has appealed the case to the Texas Supreme Court.

The attorney general's opinion drew widespread condemnation by medical professionals, but the report's authors argue theirs is the first "point-by-point rebuttal" of his claims. The analysis also picks apart similar arguments made by the state of Alabama in support of its legislation criminalizing medical treatment for transgender youth.

The report accuses Paxton and Alabama officials of falsely asserting that doctors routinely sterilize kids with surgical procedures and of ignoring mainstream scientific evidence that gender-affirming care improves the mental health of young people with gender dysphoria.

Both Texas and Alabama authorities also exaggerated the risks of gender-affirming drug therapies such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments, according to the authors. What's more, they accuse Paxton of citing debunked and out-of-date studies and relying on an unvetted website created by political activists without medical training.

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