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Texas could charge doctors with “child abuse” if they treat a transgender child or teen

Texas could charge doctors with “child abuse” if they treat a transgender child or teen
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The first bill targeting transgender people in Texas has been filed. State Rep. Steve Toth (R) has filed HB 68, a bill that would make it illegal to give a transgender child or teenager proper medical care.

Instead, the proposed law would classify it as “child abuse” and could land a doctor in prison for treating his patient as recommended by every major medical association. The professional could also lose their license to practice medicine.

Related: Montana advances bill to ban transgender girls from competing in school sports

Toth cited “legislation to protect minors from parents who wish to transition them to the opposite sex” as one of his top legislative priorities in his re-election bid.

The Republican legislator, an ardent Trump supporter with a fondness for voter suppression, wants to ban puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and gender confirmation surgeries for anyone under the age of 18. Surgical treatment is not normally available until the patient is over 18 and able to consent to the procedure.

Toth claims he wants to stop parents from forcibly “transitioning” their child.

The bill would redefine child abuse to include giving a patient hormone therapy, puberty blockers, or “the removal of healthy tissue” if the intent is to “change or affirm a child’s perception of the child’s sex, if that perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex as determined by the child’s sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles.” In other words, cisgender teens could still get a nose job despite having a perfectly functioning nose.

“This isn’t an issue of being anti-gay or being against the homosexual community. The vast majority of these people that desist from it do go on to practice homosexuality,” Toth said. “So it’s not an issue of being anti-gay. This doesn’t stop someone from desisting from homosexuality. It’s to protect them from making a crucial mistake in their developmental years.”

“If you look at study after study after study… nearly 80 percent of these kids by the time they’re 20 desist from wanting to transition,” Toth claimed. “We’re going to have people that will testify that have gone through this, that have desisted.”

Children do express their gender freely, but therapists and doctors don’t diagnose gender dysphoria unless the child has repeatedly reiterated that they identify differently and have shown emotional distress. Puberty blockers are a hormonal treatment that delays the onset of puberty – and therefore secondary sex characteristics – so that transgender youth and their parents and doctors can have more time to decide on an appropriate medical treatment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2018 that affirmed the use of puberty blockers as part of a care model for young people with gender dysphoria.

A study published last year found that transgender people who wanted puberty blockers and got them were far less likely to have suicidal thoughts later on in life than transgender people who wanted them but didn’t get them.