Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is ordering state agencies to investigate reports of transgender children receiving gender-affirming treatment as child abuse.
"Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse." Abbott wrote in a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
This letter was shared with other Texas agencies, including the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Medical Board and the Texas Education Agency, according to the Morning News.
It is currently unclear what the immediate impact Abbott's orders will have on transgender kids, their teachers, their doctors and their parents, the newspaper noted.
The move comes after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said that gender-affirming health care for transgender youth, including hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex reassignment procedures, is abuse.
Medical professionals, the LGBT community and transgender advocates have stated that transgender children are at higher risk of negative mental health consequences, including suicide, if they do not receive gender-affirming health care.
"If loving parents are following recommended medical care that they believe is in the best interest of their child, it's hard to fathom why Texas would legally conclude that is child abuse," Kate Murphy, senior policy associate for child protection at Texans Care for Children, told the Morning News.