Texas Gov. Abbott: Agencies must investigate gender-affirming care for trans kids as ‘child abuse’

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02/22/22

AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered state agencies to investigate reports of transgender kids receiving gender-affirming care as “child abuse,” but it’s unclear what immediate effect the directive will have on kids, teachers, doctors and parents. In a letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services sent Tuesday, Abbott said the agency “is responsible for protecting children from abuse.” He warned that educators, medical professionals and others who don’t report alleged abuse could face consequences. “Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse,” Abbott saidHis letter was CC’d to several other agencies, including the Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Medical Board and Texas Education Agency. Abbott’s order came the day after Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion that said certain types of medical care for trans youth — including treatments like hormone therapy and puberty blockers — is a form of child abuse. Attorney general opinions do not have the force of law, but former officials said agency heads are mostly expected to follow them.

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