AUSTIN — While Gov. Greg Abbott and representatives point fingers and talk in circles, they still have taken no action to actually stop medical professionals from disfiguring children in Texas.

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 becoming 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 Legislature’s July special session.

Last week, after nearly two years of apparent silence on the issue, Abbott finally spoke on the topic and blamed House Republicans for the lack of action, saying “the chances of [those protections] passing during the session in the House of Representatives was nil” and that he “[has] another way of achieving the exact same thing.”

Abbott said he should be announcing his supposed plan “within the next week” and may even announce it “as soon as this week.” But a week and a half later, there’s still been no word.

Meanwhile, Republican State Rep. Matt Krause (Haslet) recently tweeted in apparent response to the governor’s comments, saying House lawmakers actually did have enough votes to approve the child protection laws.

“There has been some talk whether the House could pass a gender mod bill. To which I say – absolutely!!!” Krause wrote. “Here are the joint author & co-author sheets for HB 166. We are at over 60 supporters. And many more that just haven’t signed yet. We have more than 76 votes.”

Though Krause is now tweeting his commitment to the issue, he was an author of one of the proposed child protection laws during the regular session and, remarkably, complained when other state officials admonished his colleagues to approve his proposal. Other Republican lawmakers—specifically, State Reps. Dustin Burrows (Lubbock) and Stephanie Klick (Ft. Worth)—are now again signing in support. Two months ago, howeverr, both Burrows and Klick were key players in stopping the effort.

Yet while the governor and state representatives play political games, children in Texas like James Younger are still vulnerable to being permanently disfigured.

“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’ father, Jeff, in a May interview.

Indeed, last week, radio host Mark Davis asked Abbott a similar overarching question.

“Why?” Davis said. “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 replied.

Concerned citizens may contact their representatives 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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