Five Texas district attorneys have refused to follow a directive from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordering the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents of transgender children based on the presumption that they are allowing their children to receive gender-affirming medical care.
Abbott issued the directive, which he justified by citing an opinion issued last week by Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) that stated that all forms of surgical and hormonal interventions for transitioning youth constitute “child abuse” because the medical treatments for gender dysphoria can cause “sterilization” and thereby violate a child’s fundamental right to procreation.
But five district attorneys signed an open letter calling Abbott’s order “un-American” and an “egregious invasion of privacy.”
“We are deeply disturbed by GovernorAbbott and Attorney General Paxton’s cruel directives treating transgender children’s access to life-saving, gender-affirming care as ‘child abuse,'” the letter, dated Feb. 22, reads. “We also want to be clear: we will enforce the Constitution and will not irrationally and unjustifiably interfere with medical decisions made between children, their parents, and their medical physicians.”
“We will not allow the governor and attorney general to disregard Texan children’s lives in order to score political points,” the letter concluded.
Signatories included District Attorneys John Creuzot of Dallas County, José Garza of Travis County, Joe Gonzales of Bexar County, Mark Gonzalez of Nueces County; and Brian Middleton of Fort Bend County.
Abbott’s directive dropped just before he and Paxton were to compete in what many believed to be competitive Republican primaries, held Tuesday night. Abbott managed to win an outright majority, defeating archconservatives like Allan West, the former anti-LGBTQ Florida Congressman, and Don Huffines, a former state senator beloved by some social conservatives — both whom had previously criticized him for not pursuing a ban on transgender health care in addition to a ban on transgender athletes that lawmakers approved in a special session last year.
Paxton, on the other hand, failed to garner more than 50% in the first round, sending him to a May runoff against Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the grandson and nephew of two former U.S. presidents — leading some critics to fear Paxton may make more politically-motivated decisions in the near future in order to appeal to Republican primary voters in the runoff.
The White House denounced the directive in a statement, according to ABC News.
“The Texas Attorney General’s attack on loving parents who seek medical care for their transgender children is dangerous to the health of kids in Texas and part of much larger trend of conservative officials cynically attacking LGBTQI+ youth to score political points,” a White House spokesperson said in the statement.
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