Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pushes child welfare agency to classify gender-affirming care as abuse

Gov. Greg Abbott is now demanding that Texas child welfare officials investigate parents who obtain "abusive gender-transitioning procedures" for their kids. - INSTAGRAM / @GOVABBOTT
Instagram / @govabbott
Gov. Greg Abbott is now demanding that Texas child welfare officials investigate parents who obtain "abusive gender-transitioning procedures" for their kids.
After a legislative session targeting families of transgender children, Texas' top Republican leaders are renewing a press to have state child welfare officials treat gender-affirming health care as child abuse.

Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter Tuesday to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services demanding that it "conduct prompt and thorough investigations" of parents or guardians who obtain "abusive gender-transitioning procedures" for their children.

The letter follows a non-binding opinion issued last Friday by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who classified gender-reassignment procedures and hormonal medication under the state's definition of child abuse. That opinion contradicts advice from mainstream medical and childcare organizations. 

"Against the advice from child welfare and medical groups, Paxton continues his baseless attempts to deny children and families the life-saving care they need," LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said in a statement. "These private medical decisions should be left to families and trained healthcare providers."

During the past legislative session Lone Star State Republicans seized on a variety of measures meant to punish transgender Texans, including one that would classify gender-affirming care as child abuse. The highest profile of those was a measure signed into law by Abbott that prohibits K-12 students from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity.

The latest push by Abbott and Paxton comes as the pair face opposition in Texas' Republican primary, a contest in which candidates often lean hard to the right to appeal to the party's base.

Abbott faces challenges from a pair of extreme-right candidates in that contest, while Paxton's rivals have targeted him over a reported FBI investigation into whistleblower claims that he took bribes and abused his office.

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