AUSTIN, TX — This week, Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate instances of gender-affirming treatments for transgender adolescents as “child abuse.” The order comes after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in an opinion, defined gender-affirming care as child abuse under current state laws. Physicians and members of the Committee to Protect Health Care denounced these decisions.
“Gender-affirming care is critical, life-saving health care for young transgender people,” said Dr. Bhavik Kumar, a board-certified family physician in Houston. “As a physician who provides gender-affirming care, I’ve seen firsthand the difference it makes in a person’s life, improving their mental health, reducing suicidal ideation, and boosting their overall well-being. While doctors like me will continue to provide this care to the best of our abilities, I fear that Gov. Abbott’s cruel orders will needlessly harm many young Texans.”
According to the Trevor Project’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 54 percent of transgender and non-binary youth had reported seriously considering suicide in the previous year, with 29 percent having made an attempt.
“Governor Abbott is endangering the health and well-being of Texas youth by criminalizing the medical care they require,” said Dr. Dona Kim Murphey, physician and community organizer in Houston. “Decisions about gender-affirming care are made with serious thought and much discussion between families and their clinical teams. Gov. Abbott must stop playing political football with our children’s lives.”
Dr. Joanna Schwartz, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist in Austin, said, “All children in our state should be able to receive the medical care they need to be happy and healthy, and to be able to trust their doctors and their parents. Furthermore, doctors and other licensed professionals who work with children should be able to do their job, which is to care for those children, without government interference. Calling medical care ‘child abuse’ and penalizing professionals who don’t report it is outrageous and dictatorial at best, and dangerous and deadly at worst.”
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org