Texas Gov. Abbott Orders Probe of Child Sex Change Surgery

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
February 24, 2022Updated: February 24, 2022

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 22 ordered a probe of medical procedures for transgender children.

In a letter to the state’s youth protection agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Abbott said that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had determined that a number of gender reassignment procedures amount to “child abuse” under Texas law.

Gender reassignment surgeries can include orchiectomies, hysterectomies, vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, and mastectomies.

“Because the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) 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,” the Republican governor wrote in his letter to Commissioner Jaime Masters (pdf).

Abbott noted that it is already against state law to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen. 

He added that Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such “abuse.”

This includes “doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse,” Abbott said.

“Texas law also imposes a duty on DFPS to investigate the parents of a child who is subjected to these abusive gender-transitioning procedures, and on other state agencies to investigate licensed facilities where such procedures may occur,” the governor added.

Abbott said: “There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted. [DFPS] has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”

The White House condemned Abbott’s decision to launch an investigation into the procedures.

“The Texas Attorney General’s attack on loving parents who seek medical care for their transgender children is dangerous to the health of kids in Texas and part of much larger trend of conservative officials cynically attacking LGBTQI+ youth to score political points,” a White House spokesperson told ABC News.

“Families should have the right to seek health care that will enable young people to live healthy and fulfilled lives,” the statement said. “Conservative officials in Texas and other states across the country should stop inserting themselves into health care decisions that create needless tension between pediatricians and their patients. And no parent should face the agony of a politician standing in the way of accessing life-saving care for their child.”

Gender dysphoria, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is a condition of distress created by an individual who identifies with the opposite biological sex.

As previously reported in The Epoch Times, separate studies found 88 percent of boys and girls experiencing gender dysphoria–who had not yet undergone social transitioning–reported when they were teens that it was no longer an issue and they accepted their biological gender.

Brad Jones contributed to this report.