A state senator in Texas has introduced a bill that would designate sex-change surgeries and hormone treatments for children under the age of 18 as child abuse in the Lone Star state.
Senate Bill 1646 would prohibit parents from “administering or supplying, or consenting to or assisting in the administering or supplying of puberty suppression prescription drug or cross-sex hormone to a child, other than an intersex child, for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment.”
The bill was introduced by Texas Sen. Charles Perry, a Republican, and was heard by the Senate Committee on State Affairs on Monday.
If passed, the legislation would alter the state’s definition of child abuse to include parents allowing their children to access hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and puberty blockers. Medical professionals commonly recommend the two types of treatment to trans minors.
The legislation exempts children who are born intersex.
According to Perry’s office, under the bill, parents could potentially have their child removed from their home if they break the proposed law.
Doctors could also be accused of child abuse and have their licenses investigated by the Texas Medical Board if they perform sex change treatments.
“Children are unable to give informed consent. This bill gives children a chance to get to adulthood with intact bodies,” Texas Republican Executive Committee Member Jill Glover testified Monday.
Responding to the legislation, Adri Perez, a policy and advocacy strategist for the ACLU of Texas, suggested that if passed, it will “cost lives.”
“Gender-affirming care is essential and life-saving care,” he said on Twitter. “Make no mistake, restricting and even criminalizing access to health care for transgender people will cost lives.”
Houston-based organization Doctors for Change submitted a letter to Texas lawmakers ahead of Monday’s Senate Committee on State Affairs, asking for the bill to be scrapped.
“We care for Texans of all ages, including transgender and non-binary children, youth, and adults and we are appalled by the blatant intention of SB 1646 to characterize the provision of our compassionate, evidence-based care as ‘child abuse’ and to levy criminal penalties against providers who are putting the health and well-being of patients first,” the letter said.
The legislation, if approved, would take effect on Sept. 1.
It is one among dozens of legislation restricting gender transition procedures for minors currently being considered nationwide.
Earlier this month, Arkansas became the first state to outlaw gender reassignment surgeries and hormone treatments for children under the age of 18, after lawmakers enacted the measure following Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto.
It would prohibit physicians and health care professionals from providing gender transition procedures to people under 18 years old, or referring the minors to other health care professionals for the procedures. Medical providers who violate the law could face disciplinary action from the appropriate licensing entity or disciplinary review board.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.