The Biden White House released a statement Wednesday slamming the state of Texas and accusing it of attacking transgender youth through a directive ordering investigations into situations where children underwent gender transition procedures.
“In recent days, elected leaders in Texas have launched a cynical and dangerous campaign targeting transgender children and their parents,” the White House said Wednesday. “The Governor of Texas has directed state officials to open child abuse investigations into families simply because they have provided access to affirming care for their children. This is government overreach at its worst. Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country, the Governor’s actions callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points. These actions are terrifying many families in Texas and beyond. And they must stop.”
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The White House added that the Department of Health and Human Services is taking “several actions” to “keep transgender children in Texas and their families safe.”
The HHS has released new guidance on the matter and issuing a memo to child welfare agencies across the country.
“These announcements make clear that rather than weaponizing child protective services against loving families, child welfare agencies should instead expand access to gender-affirming care for transgender children,” the White House said. “Respected medical organizations have said that access to gender-affirming care for transgender children can benefit mental health, lower suicide rates, and improve other health outcomes. Children, their parents, and their doctors should have the freedom to make the medical decisions that are best for each young person—without politicians getting the way.”
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Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, recently ordered DFPS to investigate instances where Texas children have been subjected to “a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen.”
That order cited a legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, which determined that controversial transgender procedures constitute child abuse. The opinion cited numerous doctors and other medical sources, claiming that “there is no evidence that long-term mental health outcomes are improved or that rates of suicide are reduced by hormonal or surgical intervention.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lamda Legal sued Abbott and Paxton on Tuesday, aiming to block DFPS from investigating parents who encourage their kids’ transgender identities.
On Wednesday, a Texas judge blocked the state from investigating the parents of a transgender teenager over gender-confirmation treatments, but stopped short of preventing the state from looking into other reports about children receiving similar care.
District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary order halting the investigation by the Department of Family and Protective Services into the parents of the 16-year-old girl. The parents sued over the investigation and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order last week that officials look into reports of such treatments as abuse.
Meachum wrote that the parents and the teen “face the imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care, and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”
President Biden touched on the issue of transgender youths in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
“For our LGBTQ+ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk,” Biden said. “The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is simply wrong. As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your president, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”
In a statement to Fox News, Paxton called Biden’s stance in the speech “shocking.”
“It is shocking and sad that Joe Biden would champion cruel forms of child abuse such as genital mutilation through forced so-called sex-change operations and the prescription of dangerous puberty blockers,” Paxton said. “I will always defend the children of Texas from these inhumane procedures.”
Associated Press and Fox News’ Tyler O’Neill contributed to this report