Deep state bureaucrats, ideology-driven medical practitioners, and lawfare coalitions have set themselves against the grassroots movement to protect children from gender mutilation and hormone manipulation. With scientific research sounding alarms about the risks these abusive medical procedures pose, subject matter specialists offer clear policies to help kids be kids.

Callback
In our investigative series on this subject, Texas Scorecard has reviewed and reported scientific research pointing out the dangerous side effects and permanent consequences of gender mutilation and hormone manipulation. These alarms escalated after efforts in the Western world to expand the target range for these abusive medical procedures from adults only to children as well.

As part of this investigation, Texas Scorecard interviewed Dr. Andre Van Mol, a board certified family physician in California. He is also co-chair of the American College of Pediatrician’s Committee on Adolescent Sexuality and the Sexual and Gender Identity Task Force of the Christian Medical & Dental Association.

Using reliable scientific evidence, Dr. Van Mol has been arguing to protect children from these abusive medical procedures. One of the permanent consequences of these he mentioned was sterility “if you remove your ovaries or testicles.” That itself makes the “gender-affirming” push sound closer to a modern-day eugenics movement.

But there are more risks and consequences, some even less known than others explored in this series. “The problem with the bottom surgeries is the risk of never being [able to] have orgasms again, and there will be not much the surgeon can do about that,” he told Texas Scorecard.

On top of all that, of all the risks and permanent consequences explored throughout this series, Dr. Van Mol said none of these procedures deliver what is advertised to the recipient. “To quote psychiatry professor Steve Levine, it is biologically impossible to change your sex,” he stated. “Sex is stamped on every nucleated cell in your body. Whatever cell you have that has a nucleus, it has a sex, and there’s nothing you can do to change your genetics.”

While other parts of the West are reversing course, Texas is lagging behind. Grassroots efforts to protect children led to finger-pointing by public servants in the state Legislature, the governor’s mansion, and the attorney general’s office.

After a flurry of letters involving State Reps. Matt Krause (R–Haslet), Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City), Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Paxton issued an attorney general opinion that the abusive medical procedures of gender mutilation and hormone manipulation, when performed on minors, is “child abuse.”

During the time Paxton mulled over Krause’s question, Dr. Van Mol sent Paxton a letter dated October 24, 2021 arguing that such procedures on minors are indeed instances of child abuse.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) followed Paxton’s opinion with a letter directing DFPS to investigate incidents where children underwent  these procedures.

That maneuver triggered a reaction that exposed the public-private coalition of forces determined to block all efforts to protect children from these procedures. This coalition included insurgents within the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services itself, a team of well-funded and politically connected law firms, and ideological medical professionals and their allies. Texas Scorecard’s attempts to obtain records on this matter also exposed resistance from certain state agencies: the Texas Medical Board, the Texas Board of Nursing, and the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.

With these forces arrayed in opposition, what is the pathway to victory for the grassroots?

Funding Your Foes
It should be noted that there are actors in this battle that are funded by state taxpayers.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), wherein the insurgency against Abbott’s letter started, is a well-funded operation. In Fiscal Year 2022 they reported having more than 13,000 employees, had been assigned more than $1.7 billion in funding at the state level by the state Legislature, and had received more than $1 billion from federal taxpayers. Compare that with Fiscal Year 2016, where they had more than 12,700 employees and received more than $962 million from state taxpayers and more than $790 million from federal taxpayers. In short, DFPS has seen a more than 35 percent increase in these sources of funding from FY 2016 to FY 2022.

DFPS also houses Child Protective Services, a department with a history of attempting to steal children from innocent parents (as exemplified in the Drake Pardo case in 2019). That outrage was not fully resolved until December 2020, when Drake’s parents were finally removed from the Child Abuse Registry.

Suspicious activity, appearing to protect potential bad actors and bad products, by the Texas Medical Board, the Texas Board of Nursing, and the Texas State Board of Pharmacy merits a brief mention of their budgets as well.

In their budget submitted to Gov. Abbott and the Legislative Budget Board, the Texas Medical Board planned to spend this year more than $17 million of taxpayers’ money. As for the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, whose operation budgets are published every two years, there’s been an increase in funding as well; more than $7 million of state taxpayer monies was assigned to them in 2016. In 2020, they received more than $9 million from state taxpayers, more than a 28 percent increase from 2016. At the Texas Board of Nursing’s website is their operation budget for Fiscal Year 2022; they were assigned more than $9 million of taxpayers’ money.

Additionally, state taxpayers have been funding others opposed to their efforts to protect children.

Deeper research of the Doe v. Abbott lawsuit, which sought to stop DFPS investigations of instances where children undergo the aforementioned abusive medical procedures, revealed more players seeking to keep minors at risk. These include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, DePelchin Children’s Center, the National Association of Social Workers, Prevent Child Abuse America, the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and the Texas Psychological Association.

Texas Scorecard sent open records requests to the Texas Comptroller, the agency that writes the checks for state taxpayer monies, and requested all state payments to these and other organizations that came up during the course of this investigation series.

Every single one of those listed above, according to the Texas Comptroller, have received state taxpayer monies. Comptroller records show that from January 1, 2016, to August 30, 2022, more than $103 million of taxpayer dollars combined has gone to these organizations fighting to keep children at risk of abusive medical procedures.

The lion’s share of this money went to one of the two of these organizations associated with Dr. Megan Mooney, one of the plaintiffs in the Doe v. Abbott lawsuit. From January 1, 2016, to August 30, 2022, the Comptroller reported more than $100 million was paid to DePelchin Children’s Center, “a licensed foster care agency” that was Dr. Mooney’s employer. “Gender Infinity” conferences pushing far-left sexual ideologies have also been listed on DePelchin’s website. The categories of state payments to them include registration fees for employee training (paid through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission), grants-in-aid for foster care and services for child/client (paid through DFPS), a “Commodity Distribution Program” for the Department of Agriculture, and “crime victim expenses” (paid by the Attorney General’s Office).

The other Dr. Mooney-associated organization is the Texas Psychological Association, which was paid more than $13,000 in state taxpayer monies during the same time period. Dr. Mooney served as TPA’s president in 2020.

Our other open records request to the Comptroller on this topic sought any state payments to law firms representing the anti-child protection plaintiffs in the Doe v. Abbott suit. Responsive records show that, from January 1, 2016, to August 30, 2022, the politically well-connected Baker Botts LLP received more than $845,000 in state taxpayer funds from multiple state agencies. These include the Department of Agriculture, Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, and even the Comptroller itself.

Tim Hardin, CEO of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, says the revelation of state taxpayer monies flowing to those opposed to the grassroots is not surprising. “I think you have bureaucrats that, quite honestly, just don’t pay attention to where money is going,” he told Texas Scorecard. “And then I think you have bad actors, leftist actors, woke people inside of our government that are filtering money and using tax dollars to promote these sick agendas.”

Addressing Education
There is also the issue that state taxpayers are funding an education apparatus indoctrinating generations of medical practitioners in these subversive and anti-science ideologies.

Records obtained from the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council on Dr. Colt Amand—co-founder of the ”gender-affirming” nonprofit Gender Infinity in Houston—exposed the ideological indoctrination of radical views about children and sexuality Amand received at the University of Houston. Examples include classes titled “Approach to Gender Variant Behavior in Preadolescents,” “Psychosexual Development of Gender Variant Children,” and “Transgender Pediatrics and Adolescent Health.” Dr. Amand received a Ph.D. there in May 2013. Also called “The Gender Doctor” on his website, which has since been taken down but has been archived, Dr. Amand identifies as an “openly transgender queer two spirit man who works with LGBTQI+ children, teens, adults and their loved ones.”

Protecting Children
With the Texas Legislature due to meet next January, what should be done to protect children from the abusive medical procedures of surgical mutilation and hormone manipulation?

There’s also the matter of funding those opposed to protecting children, such as the Baker Botts law firm, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Texas Psychological Association, and DePelchin’s Children’s Center. “I think our tax dollars should absolutely not fund any sexualization of children, any abuse of children,” Tim Hardin, CEO of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, told Texas Scorecard.

Chris Hopper of Texas Family Project concurs. “We have to have a clear and loud clarion call that no organization that promotes, or engages [with], or even supports the sex-change operations should by any means be financially supported or encouraged to continue to pursue this abuse on children.”

But there’s also the ideological indoctrination occurring in education in our state, as seen with Dr. Colt Amand’s history, and with incidents like drag queen story hour in public schools. Here too, taxpayer monies come into play. “Education is more than 50 percent of our budget … over $100 billion that we’re spending,” Hardin said.

In so far as stopping the flow of taxpayer monies to organizations like the Texas Psychological Association and funding ideological indoctrination in public schools and higher education, Hardin said the Texas Legislature can put directives—also known as riders—in the budget for how monies can be spent in particular organizations.

“There’s a number of things you can do in the budget to prevent funding for these things,” he explained. “Our legislators are going to have to make a decision on whether or not they’re going to support a budget that supports the grooming of children, transitioning children, [or] sexually abusing children.”

Considering the procedures’ danger, proved by  the reliable scientific evidence, Dr. Van Mol shared policy solutions the Texas Legislature should pass. “I would recommend instituting a SAFE Act, as other states are trying to do, that basically prohibits all of this for minors,” he told Texas Scorecard. “We are joined in agreement on that by one adult trans-identified group that also agrees that this is a decision that’s so momentous, there’s no way a minor can make it.”

He also has policy recommendations when it comes to the adult population. “For adults, at a minimum, there should be an extensive informed consent process. Something that’s uniform throughout the state—not a hit-or-miss kind of thing—that lists all these risks and problems … and the fact that there’s a great deal available just in the form of psychological support, and intervention that can be very helpful.”

As he discussed previously, it would appear that informed consent is not something that is provided to those who seek these procedures. In other words, there is little if any transparency from medical providers regarding the risks and permanent consequences of surgical mutilation and hormone manipulation.

If these procedures remain legal for adults (Dr. Van Mol did not advocate banning them for adults), there are policies he recommends the Legislature adopts. “Insurers need to be protected [so] that they don’t have to pay for it. Texas Medicaid should be protected [so] that it doesn’t have to pay for it, and so on and so forth.”

As Chris Hopper of the Texas Family Project points out, taxpayer monies are being sought to finance these abusive medical procedures for adults “through insurance and other means.”

“That’s obviously terrible stewardship,” he told Texas Scorecard.

There’s another bold policy Dr. Van Mol recommends the Legislature pursue, which could bring down the entire practice of abusive medical procedures altogether. “Texas should open up the door to malpractice litigation for people that feel they were the victim of malpractice because of gender-affirming therapy.” However, that is something that may not be possible due to Texas’ tort reform laws passed in 2003.

“I don’t believe you can necessarily do that under current law, which is what my [House Bill] 1399 kind of did … take away the liability coverage for these types of procedures and also allowed doctors to lose their license for doing these kinds of procedures,” outgoing State Rep. Matt Krause (R–Haslet) told Texas Scorecard. That bill targeted procedures for children only, and was not voted on by the Texas House in 2021.

Attorney Garrett McMillan of the Law Offices of Tony McDonald seemed to concur with Krause. “In my read of things as they currently stand, these [tort reform] laws may pose a serious problem to those who sue for damages as a result of so-called ‘gender transition surgeries,’ because the damages aren’t exactly economic, or at least economic in the sense of directly impacting one’s ability to earn money,” he said. “This is definitely something that those of us against child abuse will want to reform and clarify that you absolutely can and should be able to go after these people, so that we can not only throw the abusers in jail, but ensure their child abuse profits go through bankruptcy proceedings rather than IRS filings.”

“I still think that’s a great approach to take. … The medical community, who has a higher standard of care, who has more knowledge on these situations, those are the ones that we should be targeting,” Krause said.

Texas Scorecard asked if that should also apply to procedures for adults. “I think if there’s a surgery or procedure or something that’s gone wrong, especially in this area, maybe we should look at lifting the liability coverage from those doctors, the insurance coverage from those doctors, even on adult procedures,” he replied. “I don’t know if we should take the route in Texas of saying, ‘Hey, you cannot get these procedures as an adult,’ but it might make the patients think twice and the doctors think twice about doing them if certain liability coverage was taken from them.”

Dr. Van Mol is adamant that Texans hurt by these procedures should have the right to seek damages. “They have the right to seek redress in courts for far less than this, so it makes no sense that this would be blocked from malpractice litigation.”

He added that according to detransitioners, built into their informed consent contracts with doctors and hospitals is that the patients’ right to sue is limited to the honeymoon period of two years. “What is usually a one- to two-year window for malpractice litigation should be opened up wide: five to 10 years, because of the nature of the damage that’s done. I mean, it’s permanent. It’s life-altering.”

Dr. Van Mol emphasizes that this aspect of policymaking is going to be the lynchpin in the fight against surgical mutilation and hormone manipulation. “The emeritus professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, Paul McHugh, he said when this is going to turn around is when the families and the kids that have gone through this and come out on the other side don’t just sue the doctors and the hospitals, but the hospital chains, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical firms … that made all this possible,” he said. “When it’s evident that this is not a gravy train for the worst side of capitalism, that’s what’s going to bring this stuff down, and that’s what’s going to change things.”

Another force advocating to protect children on this issue is Texas Family Project. Hopper told us what their objectives will be in the upcoming legislative session, working with a “handful” of legislators that include State Rep. Bryan Slaton and incoming State Rep. Nate Schatzline. “We’re going to work with a handful of these state representatives and author bills that would make the sex-change operations illegal, that would make the drag shows for children illegal,” Hopper said. “We think those two avenues will create tremendous success when it comes to protecting Texas families.”

There’s also the matter of drag queen story hours targeting children. Texas Scorecard asked Dr. Van Mol if such shows serve as a gateway drug for children in regards to these abusive medical procedures. “Yeah, surely it’s gonna play into that,” he replied. “You can find drag queens on YouTube, and articles by drag queens, that say, ‘Wait a minute, we shouldn’t be anywhere near a kid’s school. Drag queen is gay porn.’ That’s how they phrase it. … This doesn’t have any place being in schools.”

Healing Children
There is still the problem of treating children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which, according to Dr. Van Mol, is on the rise across the globe. “What we have here is a full-fledged social contagion,” he said.

Instead of medically abusive procedures, which reliable scientific evidence shows does not cure the problem, what is the best way to help minors with gender dysphoria?

Dr. Van Mol pointed us to University of Toronto psychologist Dr. James Cantor. He wrote the following in his 2019 paper titled “Transgender and Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents: Fact-Checking of AAP Policy, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy”:

… Almost all clinics and professional associations in the world use what’s called the watchful waiting approach to helping GD children.

“When we talk about gender dysphoria, especially in minors, there are two overwhelming probabilities,” Dr. Van Mol told Texas Scorecard.

The first probability is of the desistance by adulthood. It tends to just go away unless it is affirmed.

“The second is the overwhelming likelihood of underlying mental health problems, adverse childhood experiences, Autism Spectrum Disorder—[there is a] very disproportionate rate of kids and adults on the autism spectrum that declare themselves transgender—and poor family dynamics.

“The problem [is] that once the diagnosis is made of gender dysphoria, all the other mental health problems of the kid tend to be pushed aside. When you know that desistance is the probability, and there’s these underlying mental health and family dynamic factors, that’s why the international standard of care has been watchful waiting with … extensive psychological evaluation and support for both the patient and family, because you are sure to find issues in both.”

Where Is DFPS Now?
The central event that broke this case wide open was Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate instances when children undergo these procedures. On May 13, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled the investigations into abusive medical procedures performed on children could continue, but the family of the DFPS employee in the lawsuit would be exempt. The court also mentioned that children cannot be removed apart from court action.

Communications Texas Scorecard obtained through an open records request to DFPS appear to indicate that the state agency had cases that would fall under Abbott’s directive to be investigated.

“Right now, there is a case in Denton Co that falls under this directive, and one pending investigation in Tarrant that may fall under this,” wrote Cindy Williams in a February 25 email. “With the new mandate to report placed on doctors/medical professionals, I suspect we shall see more of these cases being investigated.”

Williams’ wasn’t the only email indicating DFPS already had cases in their possession. “We have three intakes regarding the duty on DFPS [sic] to investigate the parents of a child who is subjected to abusive gender- transitioning procedures,” wrote Marta Talbert, DFPS Director of Investigation and Alternative Response, in a February 23 email.

But there remains the question of how well enforced Abbott’s directive will be statewide. A February 25 email written by DFPS employee Martin Lopez points out that Dallas County’s Democrat District Attorney John Creuzot will not cooperate: “Dallas County DA’s office has already stated that they will not file these cases. Legal action will need to be filed through the Regional Attorney.”

On October 25, Texas Scorecard asked DFPS if it is currently enforcing Gov. Abbott’s directive that they “conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances” of “sex-change procedures.” Texas Scorecard also asked how many investigations are currently underway (if any), if hormone-altering drugs are included as “sex-change procedures,” and what is done if a parent or medical professional has been found to have subjected a minor to these procedures?

Three days later, Mark Wilson, DFPS’ media specialist, replied with “the latest figures related to the directive.” According to the information he provided, 15 reports have been received, 14 investigations opened, nine have been closed, and five are still in process. “None of them have resulted in removals. Due to the pending litigation, we have no further comments,” he stated.

It also appears efforts are being made by some DFPS employees to keep communications of these types of cases limited to voice only. “Please ensure we are not communicating about these cases via email and text, internally and externally, due to the sensitive nature,” wrote Toni Sutton, a DFPS regional director in the Dallas area, in a February 24 email. Maria Monrreal, a supervisor with DFPS in McAllen, wrote a similar directive in a February 25 email. “For these type [sic] of cases, I will not be sending an email or text that you have been assinged [sic] this case. I would be calling you.” A third email also asked for these cases be communicated without record. “It is being asked that these cases are worked thoroughly without text messages/emails to the family etc,” wrote DFPS employee Jarita Wharton in a February 24 email.

If all such communications are conducted by voice alone, there would be nothing that would be subject to an open records request under the Texas Public Information Act.

DFPS is not the only state agency of concern in regards to protecting children. It was widely reported on October 28 that Florida’s Board of Medicine had voted to ban so-called “sex change ‘treatments’” for minors. That same day, Texas Scorecard asked the Texas Medical Board (seven of whose 19 members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate) what their policy is and whether they intended to follow Florida’s lead. No response was received before publication.

A February 24 email from DFPS Child Safety specialist Kelly Templeton would seem to summarize well the fight ahead to protect children from abusive medical procedures.

“It will be interesting to see how this will play out.”

Robert Montoya

A former filmmaker, University of North Texas graduate, and one-time assistant language teacher, Robert Montoya misses Japan and the 1980s. He is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard.

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