AUSTIN — As Arkansas fights in court to defend their newly approved child protection law, Texas politicians have done nothing to stop medical professionals from performing mutilating procedures on kids in the Lone Star State.

Earlier this year, Arkansas enacted a law to prohibit physicians from performing gender disfigurement operations on minors, such as cutting off their healthy body parts or giving them sterilizing cross-sex hormones. The law is called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, and Arkansas became the first state in the nation to approve such safeguards.

However, the state is already under fire for defending children, facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union that is currently trying to halt the new protections. Officials from 17 other states are supporting Arkansas in the lawsuit, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“The evidence also shows that nearly all children whose gender dysphoria is treated with puberty blockers to ‘buy time’ will proceed to take cross-sex hormones and seek other medical interventions with irreversible, lifelong consequences—complications such as infertility, loss of sexual function, increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, bone-density problems, risk of altered brain development, social risks from delayed puberty, and mental health concerns,” reads the 17-state coalition’s amicus brief.

“[I]t is no wonder that States have been forced to step in to protect kids from experimental treatments,” the brief adds. “The medical establishment has abandoned the field to the political zeitgeist, which labels dissenting opinions as ‘animus’ (or worse) and closes its ears to the tragic and growing chorus of detransitioners who feel betrayed by the adults who should have been caring for them.”

In Texas, however, the permanently scarring practices are still legal.

The issue in Texas recently gained nationwide attention with the case of James Younger, a 9 year old from Dallas whose mother wanted to force him—against his father’s wishes—to take sterilizing drugs and eventually castrate him.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers proposed several bills during the regular legislative session to outlaw the operations statewide, and the overall issue was one of the top eight priorities of the Republican Party of Texas.

However, Republican legislators in the Republican-controlled Capitol killed the effort, using parliamentary tactics to stop the protections.

Now, the attention turns to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Throughout the past few months, the governor has publicly said nothing on the issue. In fact, Abbott’s last traceable comment on the matter was almost two years ago, when he posted a single tweet mentioning James Younger.

Abbott recently reconvened the state Legislature for a special month-long July session to finish work they chose not to complete earlier, but he has not included the child protections on his legislative to-do list.

Citizens and elected officials across the state have been imploring Abbott to call for the priority protections, and despite his current silence, a handful of Republican lawmakers are still moving forward.

“For years now, Texas has allowed this barbaric and evil practice of child gender modification to quickly infect our society and culture, and destroy the lives of countless young Texans,” said State Rep. Bryan Slaton, who introduced a proposal last week to classify such procedures as child abuse. “I am urgently calling on Governor Greg Abbott to add this legislation to the agenda for this special session.”

“Children must be saved from a lifetime of regret, sterility, and confusion,” wrote the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention in a public letter to Abbott. “We must stop providers from being allowed to profit off our children and perform these harmful gender reassignment procedures and puberty blocking hormones. Texas must act now to protect our children.”

Though the state Legislature’s special session is currently in question after more than 50 Democrat lawmakers fled to Washington, D.C., earlier this week, concerned citizens may still contact their state representative, their state senator, and Gov. Abbott.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.


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