Texas Republicans have been targeting trans children and their allies for years, but now Greg Abbott has intensified those efforts to a terrifying level.
After Ken Paxton issued an attorney general opinion classifying certain procedures or medications for trans children as “child abuse,” Abbott followed up with his own directive to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Abbott’s letter to the head of DFPS orders the agency to investigate any claim of gender-affirming care as “child abuse.”
The outrage over Abbott’s demand was immediate. Many critics pointed out that this directive would target the most vulnerable children in Texas, as well as those who love and support them.
Abbott’s directive also comes during the midst of the Texas primary. Several of his primary opponents, including former state senator Don Huffines, have attacked him for not calling a fourth special session to pass legislation that would ban any gender-affirming care for children.
While a specific bill outlawing healthcare for trans children did not pass, last year’s legislative session in Texas was still exceptionally cruel to the trans community. An anti-trans sports bill, which would ban trans students from playing on teams consistent with their identity, was revived in the third special session and signed by Abbott.
Brian Klosterboer, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas released a statement condemning Abbott’s directive to DFPS. “The law is clear that parents, guardians, and doctors can provide transgender youth with treatment in accordance with prevailing standards of care,” said Klosterboer. “Any parent or guardian who loves and supports their child and is taking them to a licensed healthcare provider is not engaging in child abuse.”
Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke also attacked Abbott for his cruel order, while noting that Abbott has done nothing to fix a foster care system that has left hundreds of children abused, living in unlicensed and dangerous places, and without medical treatment.
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