By Raymond Wolfe
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has declared that performing transgender surgeries on children constitutes child abuse and could lead to prosecution.
“Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse,” DFPS commissioner Jaime Masters wrote Wednesday in a letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor had asked Masters last week to review whether transgender surgeries could be classified as abuse against minors.
“As you have described, this surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies,” Masters wrote to Abbott. “Generally, children in the care and custody of a parent lack the legal capacity to consent to surgical treatments, making them more vulnerable.”
Professionals with “cause to believe” that a child has suffered abuse are obliged under Texas law to contact DFPS within two days after first suspecting abuse, Masters continued. “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,” he said, adding that intentionally concealing child abuse is a jail felony.
“Finally, allegations involving genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery will be promptly and thoroughly investigated and any appropriate actions will be taken,” Masters said.
Gov. Abbot said Wednesday on Twitter that the department’s directive and “subsequent enforcement” are “effectively immediately.”
In a letter last Friday, Abbott called on DFPS to make a determination on whether “genital mutilation of a child for purposes of gender transitioning” constitutes child abuse. “Subjecting a child to genital mutilation through reassignment surgery creates a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child,’” he wrote.
Abbott said that the “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.” The state already bans genital mutilation of girls, he noted.
The Abbott administration’s effective ban on mutilating transgender surgeries for kids comes after multiple bills to prohibit the devastating, medically unfounded procedures failed in the Texas legislature this year. Legislation passed by state senators that would have barred both transgender surgeries and drugs for minors ultimately died in the Texas House during the regular session, despite the backing of dozens of co-sponsors.
Gov. Abbott has so far not moved to restrict experimental transgender drugs, like puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, and has declined to include the issue in his agendas for special legislative sessions that he has called in recent weeks.
Surgical mutilation of minors with gender dysphoria has been documented across the U.S. in recent years. A pro-transgender study published in 2018 featured more than thirty girls under eighteen subjected to mastectomies for gender dysphoria. California even requires private insurers to cover underage transgender procedures, according to the faith-based Colson Center.
Texas’s crackdown on child abuse comes amid new developments in the case of James Younger, an eight-year-old Texas boy conceived via in vitro fertilization, whose non-biological mother is suing for the right to subject him to “gender transitioning.” A family court judge last week granted the mother full custody of James, though his father, who opposes “transitioning” his son, must still sign off any transgender drugs or surgeries.
Masters’ directive makes Texas the third state to take action against transgender procedures for minors this year, following Arkansas and Tennessee. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in June that he is interested in enacting similar measures.