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Tipsheet

As WH Responds to Texas Transgender Child 'Abuse' Concerns, Ken Paxton Affirms Role of AG is to Defend the Law

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File

Texas has found itself in the news a lot lately, with Attorney General Ken Paxton telling Townhall it's certainly "been a busy year." One such concern drawing notice as of late has been, as Madeline reported, the state investigating parents of transgender minors over children abuse when it comes to the use of so-called gender-affirming care. As Paxton affirmed, though, in a conversation with Townhall, his role is not to make the law, but rather to enforce it. 

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The release tweeted by Paxton is "a formal attorney general opinion concluding that performing certain “sex-change” procedures on children, and prescribing puberty-blockers to them, is “child abuse” under Texas law. The holding comes at a critical time when more and more Texans are seeing the horrors that flow from the merging of medicine and misguided ideology."

As Paxton further explained to Townhall, his role is also to explain the law when asked his opinion on what the Texas law says. The release does not reference Paxton's personal views, but rather section 261.001 of the Texas Family Code:

Specifically, the opinion concludes that certain procedures done on minors such as castration, fabrication of a “penis” using tissue from other body parts, fabrication of a “vagina” involving the removal of male sex organs, prescription of puberty-suppressors and infertility-inducers, and the like are all “abuse” under section 261.001 of the Texas Family Code. 

This opinion comes after Attorney General Paxton opined in an October 2019 letter to DFPS, stating that the “transition” of James Younger—the biological male son of Jeff Younger—to a “female” through puberty-blocking drugs, among other things, was “abuse” under at least three definitions set out in the Family Code, and that DFPS, therefore, had an independent duty to investigate. 

The opinion also follows Gov. Abbott’s August 2021 letter to DFPS requesting a determination of “whether genital mutilation of a child for purposes of gender transitioning through reassignment surgery constitutes child abuse.” The Commissioner of DFPS replied that “genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse.”

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"Here, the answer is clear regarding so-called sex-change procedures, puberty blockers, and hormone therapies. When performed on children, these procedures are 'abuse' under Texas law. They’re illegal. And family courts, family-law government agencies, and the like must do their part to stop it," Paxton also mentioned. 

Adding to this attention over such an opinion is the White House getting involved, something Paxton was confident in emphasizing does not change his role in protecting minors. 

In his Tuesday State of the Union address, President Joe Biden briefly mentioned the issue. "As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your President so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential," he said. 

The White House went even further in a statement on Wednesday, calling such investigations "government overreach at its worst." 

While the statement spoke of involving the Department of Health and Human Services in issuing several announcements, it's more of a matter of "putting the state of Texas on notice that their discriminatory actions put children’s lives at risk," rather than something with real teeth. 

Paxton has gone toe-to-toe with the Biden administration before, though, something he is willing to keep doing to defend Texas law. 

The White House statement did not reference the Texas code, nor did it reference that such "affirming care for... children" who cannot legally consent involves sterilization as well as genital mutilation. 

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Not only are these minors not legally able to consent to procedures and transitions that duly-elected Texas law makers have afirrmed is "abuse," but data flies in the face of the White House talking points as well. 

Studies confirm that most children, anywhere from 73 to 98 percent, outgrow their gender dysphoria in adulthood, which is discussed in depth in this piece from The Federalist and an opinion piece by Dr. Paul McHugh in The Wall Street Journal

More concrete action, though, came on Thursday around the time of our conversation, in the form of an appeal from Paxton against a temporary restraining order. The order came from Judge Amy Clark Meachum to block the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating the parents of a transgender teen. The parents of the 16-year old are being investigated, and thus have filed a lawsuit, as has Houston-based psychologist Megan Mooney, Ph.D, against the governor, DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters, and DFPS.

Paxton is running for re-election as attorney general, and, after earning 42.7 percent of the vote, came up short of the required 50 percent to avoid a runoff. Thus, such a race for May 24, 2022, is set between him and George P. Bush, who earned 22.4 percent of the vote.

The attorney general was just as steadfast in affirming his commitment to the issue, saying nothing has changed when it comes to his race, which he was confident he will win.

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