Texas CPS declares trans surgeries for minors 'child abuse' after governor's request

Texas governor Greg Abbott speaks during an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 14, 2015.
Texas governor Greg Abbott speaks during an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 14, 2015. | REUTERS/ BRENDAN MCDERMID

After a request from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services has declared that performing sex reassignment surgeries on minors with gender dysphoria constitutes child abuse.

In a letter published Wednesday, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Jaime Masters asserted that “genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse.”

According to Masters, “Such mutilation may cause a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child.’”

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Masters agreed with Abbott’s earlier assessment that “this surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies.”

The state official clarified that “when medically necessary, this surgical procedure may 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,” she added.

Masters outlined the legal requirements for professionals such as teachers, nurses, day-care employees, doctors and other state employees that work with children who have “cause to believe” that a child has experienced any form of abuse, including genital mutilation.

Specifically, they must report that belief to DFPS within 48 hours of first suspecting the abuse. Failure to do so could result in a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to $4,000.

Masters vowed that “allegations involving genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery will be promptly and thoroughly investigated and any appropriate actions will be taken.” 

Earlier this week, the governor wrote to Masters requesting that her agency “issue a determination of whether genital mutilation of a child for purposes of gender transitioning through reassignment surgery constitutes child abuse.”

Abbott announced in a tweet Wednesday that “the determination and subsequent enforcement of Commissioner Masters’ conclusions are effective immediately.”

Masters’ determination follows an unsuccessful attempt by the Republican-controlled Texas legislature to pass a bill banning chemical and surgical sex change procedures for minors with gender dysphoria. While the Texas Senate approved the bill, it stalled in the state’s House of Representatives.

Supporters of the effort to ban the genital mutilation of minors allege that pressure from corporate America caused Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives to derail the measure. Before the Senate approved the bill, nearly four dozen companies that do business in Texas expressed opposition to the effort to “criminalize or ban best-practice medical care that is proven to save lives.”

The Republican-controlled Arkansas legislature passed a similar bill over the objections of the state’s Republican governor, but it was later struck down by a federal judge.

Texas’ embrace of the idea that transgender surgeries for minors are a form of child abuse could put it on a collision course with the Biden administration.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit against the Arkansas law, indicating that it views efforts to restrict minors’ access to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones as unconstitutional.

“Federal law bars the State of Arkansas from singling out transgender minors for specifically and discriminatorily denying their access to medically necessary care based solely on their sex assigned at birth,” the department argued. “Such action would violate the Equal Protection Clause.”

Critics of such legislative efforts claim that children are not undergoing sex reassignment surgeries as the Endocrine Society recommends not having surgeries until they at least hit the age of 18. Puberty-blocking drugs are not prescribed until minors start puberty. Critics contend that the recommendation for young children with gender dysphoria is to begin social transitioning. 

Members of the executive branch have explicitly expressed support for allowing minors to undergo gender transitions. When questioning Dr. Rachel Levine, who now serves as assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., noted that the trans-identified cabinet official had “supported allowing minors to be given hormone blockers to prevent them from going through puberty as well as surgical destruction of a minor’s genitalia.”

Paul discussed the situation of Keira Bell, a 23-year old British woman who was “confused with her identity” and was prescribed puberty blockers in addition to having her breasts amputated.

The senator explained that Bell later regretted making such drastic changes to her body, which she retrospectively characterized as a “brash decision” she made as a teenager. During the confirmation hearing, Levine refused to directly answer Paul’s question about whether minors have the capacity to make such life-changing decisions.

According to the American College of Pediatricians, additional side effects of puberty blockers include “osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility.” Others who regretted undergoing gender transitions testified on a recent episode of the CBS newsmagazine program “60 Minutes” that the operations they underwent made their mental health worse, not better. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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