A program that offers mental health services and gender-affirming medical treatments to transgender children will be allowed to resume services for patients suffering from gender dysphoria following a judge’s order.
As first reported by The Dallas Morning News, Dallas County Court Judge Melissa Bellan issued an order temporarily allowing Children’s Medical Center Dallas to administer mental health services, puberty blockers, and hormone treatments to new patients through its GENder Educational and Care, Interdisciplinary Support (GENECIS) program.
The program is housed at the hospital and run in conjunction with the UT Southwestern Medical Center. The program does not offer any surgical interventions for minors.
The medical center previously dissolved the GENECIS program following a directive issued by Gov. Greg Abbott declaring gender-affirming care to be ‘child abuse.” That meant patients already enrolled in the program still had access to hormone therapies, but new patients had to be turned away.
The program’s director, Dr. Ximena Lopez, subsequently filed a lawsuit against Children’s Medical Center Dallas questioning the legality of the center’s new policy, as well as Abbott’s order.
Lopez asked for a restraining order that would block the hospital from preventing the medical center from treating new patients.
Following Bellan’s decision, the GENECIS program will continue to be able to offer services to new patients until the courts determine the validity of the policy dissolving the program.
The news of the reversal of the policy is a welcome breath for children seeking gender-affirming care- and their doctors, who could be charged with child abuse under the directive.
GENECIS has faced growing scrutiny and protests since Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal opinion, on which Abbott based his directive, argued that gender-affirming care is “child abuse” on the grounds that it is irreversible and infringes on the right of a person who transitions to procreate.
“I feel immense relief that I can now continue to do good for my patients and provide them with the health care they so desperately need and that medical science recognizes as valid,” Lopez told The Dallas Morning News.
In November, the hospital passed a policy that removed all GENECIS mentions from the Children’s Medical Center website and began to refer new patients who came in for gender-affirming care to other outside providers.
Bellan’s decision comes on the heels of release of a report, authored by seven Yale professors, that refutes claims of gender-affirming care being child abuse.
The report claimed “inaccurate evidence, discredited theories, and motivated bias” to be at the center of Paxton’s legal opinion as well as Abbott’s directive.
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