Texas: Transgender Surgery for Children Is Child Abuse
Department of Family and Protective Services rules 'genital mutilation' is abuse
The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has declared that performing transgender surgery on children is child abuse.
Gov. Abbott announced that he received a report from the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) determining that putting a child through gender transitioning surgery constitutes child abuse.
The DFPS commissioner, Jaime Masters, wrote in a letter that life-altering sex-change surgery is considered to be "genital mutilation."
Last week, the governor directed DFPS to issue a determination on the matter and Masters issued a report on the department’s findings.
“Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse,” Masters wrote.
“This surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies."
“Generally, children in the care and custody of a parent lack the legal capacity to consent to surgical treatments, making them more vulnerable,” the commissioner added.
Masters laid out narrow cases in which surgery on a child’s genitalia may be medically necessary and not constitute abuse.
“It may be warranted for the following conditions including, but not limited to, a child whose body parts have been affected by illness or trauma; who is born with a medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development, such as the presence of both ovarian and testicular tissue; or who does not have the normal sex chromosome structure for male or female as determined through genetic testing,” the letter says.
Masters also notes that, under Texas law, professionals such as teachers, doctors, and daycare workers are required to report suspected cases of child abuse to the state “within 48-hours after the professional first suspects the abuse.”
“Failure to report is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both,” Masters writes.
“If it is shown that the professional intentionally concealed the abuse, then the offense is a state jail felony.”
Abbott announced Masters’ findings Wednesday, saying in a statement that “the determination and subsequent enforcement of Commissioner Masters’ conclusions are effective immediately.”
"Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse..." - Commissioner Jaime Masters, @TexasDFPS— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 11, 2021
The determination and subsequent enforcement of Commissioner Masters' conclusions are effective immediately.https://t.co/EVLp44zi41 pic.twitter.com/HSTc9T9hQA
On Friday, Abbott requested the DFPS look into whether transgender surgery amounted to child abuse after a push to ban transgender surgery on children failed in the state legislature.
“Subjecting a child to genital mutilation through reassignment surgery creates a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child,’” Abbott said in the letter.
“This broad definition of ‘abuse’ should cover a surgical procedure that will sterilize the child, such as orchiectomy or hysterectomy, or remove otherwise healthy body parts, such as penectomy or mastectomy.
"Indeed, Texas already outlaws female genital mutilation of a child, and presumably that also constitutes child abuse.”
Abbott’s push to ban transgender surgery on children comes as similar efforts are underway across the U.S.
In South Carolina, Democratic state Rep. Cezar McKnight introduced a bill in March to ban children from receiving transgender surgery or medication for transitioning.
The proposed law carries a sentence of up to 20 years for anyone found in violation.