A Texas bill that would brand the parents of trans children as “child abusers” if they support their kids is about to pass in the Senate today in a party-line vote.
On Tuesday, the Senate gave initial approval to S.B. 1646 with an 18-13 vote. All 18 votes in favor were cast by Republicans and all 13 votes against were cast by Democrats.
Related: Supreme Court rejects Texas’s lawsuit against California over LGBTQ adoption law
The vote for final approval is set for today. Assuming it passes, the bill will move on to the House.
The law would redefine child abuse to include “consenting to or assisting in the administering or supplying of, a puberty suppression prescription drug or cross-sex hormone to a child, other than an intersex child, for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment” or “performing or consenting to the performance of surgery or another medical procedure on a child, other than an intersex child, for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment.”
Particularly gruesome, the bill says kids can be removed from their parents if their parents give them access to gender affirming medical care, including puberty blockers.
🚨The Texas Senate just approved SB1646. It bans gender affirming healthcare and removes trans youth from the homes of loving, supportive parents. Every company with business in Texas must make clear that they oppose this barbarous attempt to destroy a generation of trans people
— Ari Drennen (@AriDrennen) April 27, 2021
Despite pleas from activists, families, and doctors to stop this bill, Republicans have remained undeterred.
The group Doctors For Change released an open letter to the sponsors of the legislation pointing out that the bill flies in the face of medical research and standards of care.
“The care provided to children and youth with gender dysphoria is tailored to their specific needs by a team of highly trained providers, including pediatricians, mental health specialists, endocrinologists, surgeons, and allies and supporters including parents and guardians,” they wrote. “Each provider plays a role in ensuring the health of the child based on established standards of care and the peer-reviewed medical literature.”
“In our experience, affirmation and acceptance from parents, guardians, physicians, and all other important adults in a child’s life is extremely beneficial to the child’s health outcomes and happiness. These benefits are also supported overwhelmingly by the medical literature and highly respected pediatric organizations including the Texas Pediatric Society, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Pediatric Endocrine Society.”
Republican Senators even continue to support the bill after an impassioned plea from transgender 4th grader Kai Shappley, who testified in front of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee and schooled the legislators on how to be better adults.
“I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices,” she said. “Texas legislators have been attacking me since Pre-K. I am in fourth grade now.”
Watch the amazing @KaiShappley a huge fan of @DollyParton, 4th grader and a transgender girl, school the Texas Senate and especially @SenBryanHughes once again on how bad their anti-trans bills will be for #TransYouth if passed. Of course those #txlege will ignore her plea! pic.twitter.com/ypbD1Nvm51
— Meghan Stabler (@MeghanStabler) April 13, 2021
Amber Briggle, the mother of a transgender son, also testified and begged the lawmakers not to pass this bill.
“Today, my son is 13-years-old, the most popular boy in seventh grade, and loved by our friends, family, our church, and our community,” Briggle said. “This is possible because he has parents who affirm him and provide him with the support he needs.”
“Taking that support away from him, or worse, taking him away from his family because we broke the law to provide that support – will have devastating and heartbreaking consequences,” she said, fighting through tears.
“If this bill becomes law, that, senators, is child abuse,” she concluded. “And I promise I will call every single one of you every time a transgender child dies from suicide to remind you that their lives could have been saved, but you chose not to.”
Both Shappley and Briggle have received death threats in the wake of their testimonies.
None of this has stopped the state’s Republican senators from trying to deny trans teens access to medical care and put their parents in jail.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Democrats plan to speak out against the bill before the final vote, and some have already done so.
“I live and work with the transgender community and I’m still learning, and I’m not an expert, but you stand up here like you know what you’re talking about,” said Sen. John Whitmire (D) to the bill’s author, Sen. Charles Perry (R), who is an accountant.
“What is your expertise to deal with the complex subject of intervening in transgender families that just want to be left alone?”