TEXAS — On the heels of a new opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that states that gender-affirming care for transgender children including sex-change procedures and the prescription of puberty blockers constitutes child abuse under state law, Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate and report such procedures.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate gender-affirming procedures for children as abuse

  • The directive comes following an opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in which he states procedures for children including sex-change operations and the prescription of puberty blockers constitute abuse under state law

  • Parents of transgender children who undergo the procedures and facilities that perform them are subject to investigation

  • Such procedures are supported by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics

“Because the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is responsible for protecting children from abuse, I hereby direct your agency to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas,” Abbott wrote. “To protect Texas children from abuse, DFPS and all other state agencies must follow the law as explained in OAG Opinion No. KP-0401.” 

A news release says Texas law directs licensed professionals—including doctors, nurses and teachers—who may have contact with children who are subjected to abuse to report it. Those who fail to report it could be subject to criminal penalties.

It further states that parents “of children subjected to gender-transitioning procedures” must be investigated by DFPS.

Parents of transgender children Spectrum News 1 have spoken with say such decisions should be left to families and their doctors.

“Really, the way to protect them is to allow them to do what needs to be done in order to save their mental health and often time in their lives,” said Dr. Thomas McNeese, a psychologist whose daughter underwent a gender-affirming procedure.

“She was holding the secret and becoming increasingly depressed. This was a child that was never depressed, was outgoing, never had literally any mental health issues and was just a very happy-go-lucky kid until puberty hit,” McNeese continued. “(Now) she’s the same person she always was. She’s just in her true skin.”

Such procedures are supported by the American Medical Association and the the American Academy of Pediatrics.

During a press conference at the White House Wednesday, Press Secretary Jenn Psaki commented on Texas’ directives targeting transgender children.

“There are efforts in some states not just Texas... designed to target and attack to kids who need support the most,” Psaki said. “LGBTQI+ students are already vulnerable to bullying and violence just for being themselves... We’re seeing Republican leaders take actions to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn and what’s troubling who they can or cannot be.”