AUSTIN — As the state Legislature prepares to reconvene for a special session in July, citizens are still wondering if Gov. Greg Abbott will have lawmakers address priority issues—such as banning disfiguring gender operations on children.

Earlier this month, Abbott called for a special 30-day legislative session after the Republican-controlled Legislature chose not to complete priority work during the regular 140-day session earlier this year. Abbott also has the authority to set the legislative to-do list for a special session. Though he has yet to announce the full agenda, many expect items such as election security to be on the list.

One priority in question, however, is protecting children.

In the regular session earlier this year, Republican legislators proposed several laws to prohibit medical professionals from performing mutilating procedures on minors, such as cutting off healthy body parts or administering sterilizing cross-sex hormones.

The proposals were one of the top priorities of the Republican Party of Texas and came after the case of James Younger, a 9-year-old boy from Dallas, drew a national spotlight. Texas Scorecard recently produced a featured story on James, whose mother wanted to force him—against his father’s wishes—to take sterilizing drugs and eventually castrate him.

However, in the halls of the Capitol, Republicans in the House of Representatives destroyed the effort to protect James and countless other Texas children, using political and parliamentary tactics to kill the proposed laws.

“The most appalling failure [of the Legislature] was that of protecting children from so-called ‘sex changes,’ by puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sterilizing and mutilating surgery by medical butchers. That our legislators could not see fit to prevent this child abuse is beyond any rational understanding,” wrote Jill Glover, chairman of the Texas GOP’s legislative priority committee.

“Surely the Governor is aware that Texas now has over 16 pediatric gender clinics that offer these types of procedures, and that there is a concerted effort to advance this dangerous ideology,” she added.

Glover called for Abbott to include the child protection laws on the upcoming legislative list.

“We are asking all Texans to call the Governor and ask him to add this to the Special Session. We know that there is bipartisan support on this issue. We do not sterilize adults without their consent in this state, so how on earth can we allow it to happen to children who are not capable of giving consent?”

Additionally, the Texas Freedom Caucus—a group of Republican state representatives who claim to support conservative principles—sent a public letter to Abbott this week, urging him to defend these children and bring up several other conservative priorities that lawmakers chose to not complete during the regular session.

“Texas children should be protected from puberty-blocking hormone injections and permanently deformative gender reassignment surgery, sought only to further a radical left-wing agenda,” the caucus wrote.

Thus far, Abbott has not publicly indicated whether he will include the proposed child protection laws in the July session, and he has been mostly silent on the issue. His last traceable public comment on the matter was nearly two years ago when he posted a single tweet mentioning James Younger.

Concerned citizens may contact the governor.

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.