AUSTIN — The latest chapter in the years-long fight to protect Texas children from mutilation operations took place at Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office this week.

“Paxton is investigating Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and AbbVie Inc. under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” read the AG’s press release Monday. “These pharmaceutical companies allegedly advertised and promoted hormone (puberty) blockers for unapproved uses without disclosing the potential risks associated with these drugs to children and their parents.”

At issue are gender mutilation operations. Currently in Texas, medical professionals are allowed to cut off children’s healthy body parts as part of gender surgeries or chemically castrate them through cross-sex hormones and puberty blocker drugs.

The issue drew an international spotlight several years ago with the child abuse case of James Younger, a 9-year-old Dallas-area boy whose mother told him he was a girl and wanted to force him—against his father’s wishes—to take sterilizing drugs and eventually be castrated.

Since then, the immediate goal of many citizens has been clear: outlaw those medical practices in Texas. However, throughout this year, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican-controlled state Legislature—led by Speaker of the House Dade Phelan—have continuously rejected efforts to do so. Texas Scorecard extensively reported on this saga, detailing Abbott’s and lawmakers’ inaction despite the outcry of parents across the state and the vote of nearly 2 million Republican primary voters to ban the barbaric medical practices.

Texas Scorecard subsequently detailed those officials’ blame game, which involved Abbott passing the political hot potato to other state agencies and AG Paxton, who has still not released an official opinion on the matter.

Now, however, Paxton is looking into the drug companies.

“Medications Supprelin LA and Lupron Depot are approved to treat children with Central Precocious Puberty (CPP), when the puberty process begins prematurely. And Vantas, along with other forms of Lupron, has been prescribed for palliative treatment of prostate cancer,” Paxton’s office wrote. “These drugs are now being used to treat gender dysphoria even though they are not approved for such use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Gender dysphoria is a diagnosed mental disorder in which a person experiences significant distress related to a strong desire to be of another biological sex.”

“The manufacture, sale, prescription, and use of puberty blockers on young teens and minors is dangerous and reckless,” Paxton said. “These drugs were approved for very different purposes and can have detrimental and even irreversible side effects. I will not allow pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of Texas children.”

Concerned citizens may read more about the drugs here or the overall issue in Texas here.

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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