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Texas Gov. Abbott: Investigate gender-affirming care as child abuse
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott ordered state agencies February 22 to investigate reports of gender-affirming care on minors, following an official opinion from state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) that called the treatment a form of "child abuse" under Texas law.In a letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services, Abbott cited Paxton's opinion, writing, "A number of so-called 'sex change' procedures constitute child abuse under existing Texas law." He added that because the 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."Abbott targeted a "wide variety of elective procedures" in his letter, including gender-affirming surgery and reversible puberty blockers."Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse," Abbott wrote.It is unclear what the immediate effect of the order will have on trans and nonbinary children in the state, but LGBTQ+ advocates warn it could be devastating.A spokesperson for the DFPS told the Dallas Morning News that it will "follow Texas law as explained [by Paxton's opinion]," adding that "there are no pending investigations of child abuse involving the procedures described in that opinion."However, Christian Menefee — a county attorney who represents the DFPS in civil child abuse cases in Harris County, Texas — wrote in a tweet that his "office won't be participating in this political game.""We'll continue to follow