AUSTIN — As state politicians continue to allow medical professionals to disfigure children in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has finally broken his silence on the longstanding issue.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers proposed several bills during the regular legislative session to outlaw certain mutilating operations on minors, such as cutting off their healthy body parts or giving them sterilizing cross-sex hormones.
The proposed laws in Texas came primarily after the national spotlight on 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.
But during the legislative session, despite citizen outcry and the proposed child protection laws being one of the Republican Party of Texas’ top priorities, Republican lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives killed the effort.
Additionally, Gov. Abbott did not comment publicly on the matter, nor did he include the protections on his legislative to-do list for the July special session.
But on Monday, after nearly two years of apparent silence on the issue, Abbott spoke on the topic, blaming House Republicans for the lack of action.
“We have another solution that will address that problem that will be announced shortly. … The solution should be announced within the next week,” Abbott told conservative host Mark Davis in a radio interview on WBAP. “I’ll be candid with you, I’ll tell you what everybody knows, and that’s the chances of [those protections] passing during the session in the House of Representatives was nil.”
“Why?” Davis replied. “Why, in a conservative state with Republicans in charge … a law that says we’re not going to let you carve up your 10th grader because he thinks he’s a girl. How in God’s name does that not pass in Texas?”
“Uh, I can’t—I—I can’t answer for that other than I can game the odds,” Abbott said. “However, what I can tell you is I have another way of achieving the exact same thing, and it’s about a finished product as we speak right now and may be announced as soon as this week.”
Abbott did not provide any further details on his plan.
“I will respect your timing on that and just ask one more thing,” Davis concluded. “When that solution does make itself known, will the end result—if, as you said, the bottom line is what matters—[be] that crazy parents and crazy doctors will not be able to try to turn girls into boys and vice versa in the state of Texas?”
“Yes,” Abbott said.
Indeed, during the regular state legislative session, State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock), chairman of the powerful Calendars Committee, and State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R–Ft. Worth), chairwoman of the Public Health Committee, were key players who refused to push several similar child protection laws forward in the legislative process.
“I keep asking myself: Why do we have to work this hard to get our elected officials to protect children in this state?” said James Younger’s father, Jeff, in a May interview.
Because of Republican politicians at the Capitol, Texas has now fallen behind in safeguarding minors in the state, as Arkansas enacted a law earlier this year to prohibit physicians from performing similar gender disfigurement operations on minors. The law is called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, and Arkansas became the first state in the nation to approve such protections.
Though Texas’ special legislative session is currently in question after more than 50 Democrat lawmakers fled to Washington, D.C., last week, concerned citizens may still contact their state representative, their state senator, and Gov. Abbott.