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Conservatives defend Texas’ policy investigating transgender ‘treatments’ as child abuse amid court battle

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A judge has granted a temporary restraining order blocking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s new policy directing Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate subjecting children to controversial transgender procedures such as cross-sex hormones and “puberty blockers” as “child abuse.” 

While the American Civil Liberties Union and President Biden oppose the policy, describing it as an attack on parents of transgender children, conservatives spoke to Fox News defending it.


“All of our liberties have limits. And that’s true of parental rights as well. No one  including parents — should interfere with a child’s normal, natural bodily development,” Ryan T. Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of the book When Harry Became Sally, told Fox News Digital. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott attends a press conference at the Capitol on June 8, 2021, in Austin, Texas.
(Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

“It is profoundly unethical to intervene in the normal physical development of a child as part of ‘affirming’ a ‘gender identity’ at odds with bodily sex,” Anderson added. “Governments should prohibit this misuse of medical technology and protect children from these harms.”

A retired Marine colonel running for Congress in Georgia agreed with Anderson.

“Adults deciding to mutilate their body is one thing, but forcing a child to do this is abuse,” Col. Mitchell Swan, a Republican candidate for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, told Fox News Digital. “I would love to see similar action taken in Georgia to protect children, who are still developing both physically and mentally, from being subjected to radical and permanent procedures such as these.”


“For adults, and especially medical professionals, to be putting their political agendas ahead of real science and ahead of what is best for our children, is frankly obscene and unconscionable,” Swan argued. “I’ve always advocated for a nation where Americans can live how they want to live, even if I don’t understand it. But forcing hormone therapy or any other form of transition on a child is wrong, plain and simple. It’s abusive and should be treated as such.”

Marine Col. Mitchell Swan (Ret.) 

Marine Col. Mitchell Swan (Ret.) 
(Mitchell Swan)

Abbott ordered DFPS to investigate instances where Texas children have been subjected to “a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen.”

That order cited a legal opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton, R-Texas, which determined that controversial transgender procedures constitute child abuse. The opinion cited numerous doctors and other medical sources, claiming that “there is no evidence that long-term mental health outcomes are improved or that rates of suicide are reduced by hormonal or surgical intervention.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court on November 01, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court on November 01, 2021 in Washington, DC.
(Drew Angerer)

The ACLU and Lamda Legal sued Abbott and Paxton on Tuesday, aiming to block DFPS from investigating parents who encourage their kids’ transgender identities. 

“No family should have to fear being torn apart because they are supporting their trans child,” Adri Pérez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement on the lawsuit. Pérez claimed that the directives of Abbott and Paxton are not “rooted in the needs of families, the evidence from doctors and the expertise from child welfare professionals.” The spokesperson claimed that “gender-affirming health care saved my life, and other trans Texans should be able to access medically necessary, lifesaving care.”


Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary restraining order against the policy Tuesday, but Paxton filed a notice of appeal Thursday in an attempt to bring the case before the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

President Biden, after briefly mentioning the issue in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, attacked Texas authorities head-on in a White House statement Wednesday.

“The Governor of Texas has directed state officials to open child abuse investigations into families simply because they have provided access to affirming care for their children,” the president said. “This is government overreach at its worst.”

He announced that the Department of Health and Human Services announced actions to fight the “weaponizing” of “child protective services against loving families,” and steps to “expand access to gender-affirming care for transgender children.”

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington. 

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

While many medical associations have embraced various procedures for kids who identify as transgender and are diagnosed with gender dysphoria (the persistent and painful state of identifying as the gender opposite one’s biological sex), some doctors have warned against the use of hormone treatments that have not been approved for gender dysphoria by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Most hormone treatments “are only FDA approved as puberty blockers in children for the purpose of treating central precocious puberty and not for gender dysphoria,” Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an independent private practice endocrinologist in Rocklin, Calif., told Fox News in Dec. 2021.

“Central precocious puberty is a medical condition in which a child starts puberty at an abnormally young age, say age 4,” Laidlaw explained. “Medications like Supprelin LA are used to stop this abnormal puberty. Then once the child reaches a typical age for puberty (say age 11 or 12), the medication is stopped, and then normal puberty will resume.”


“The off-label use of these medications for gender dysphoria is completely different,” the endocrinologist added. “In this case the healthy child has already begun normal puberty. But then the medication is given to block normal puberty. Blocking normal puberty has numerous unhealthy side effects including loss of normal bone development, interference with normal brain and social development, and importantly causes infertility and sexual dysfunction. Many of these effects will be irreversible.”

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