Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has opened an investigation into Austin’s Dell Children’s Medical Center, the attorney general’s office announced Friday, in search of “potential illegal activity.”
Paxton posted to Twitter that the probe was regarding possible “gender transitioning of minors” at the facility, following the attorney general issuing a Request to Examine, or RTE, which “demands answers about the alleged activities” at the hospital.
“I am launching an investigation into Dell Children’s Medical Center regarding gender transitioning of minors,” Paxton wrote, announcing the probe. “Gender transitioning minors is child abuse, and child abuse will not be tolerated.”
The RTE follows an undercover video recently published by the far-right activist group Project Veritas, which allegedly shows a Dell Children’s staff member discussing gender-affirming treatment for patients “as young as eight, nine.”
Gender-affirming care for minors does not include genital surgery. For young children, it includes being allowed to dress and wear the clothes of their gender. For older kids, it can include reversible puberty blockers, which have been shown to reduce the lifelong suicide risk among trans people who wanted them and got them. For older teens, it can include hormone replacement therapy and, in some rare cases, top surgery.
Gender-affirming care for minors is currently legal in Texas, but Paxton’s office issued a non-binding legal opinion in 2022 that described the practice as “child abuse.”
That opinion served as legal cover for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) notorious order directing the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate families of trans minors. A Texas judge shut down those investigations, but both Paxton and Abbott have continued to harass trans families.
Trans kids were pulled from class for interrogations even after the court order halted the DFPS investigations. Paxton’s office also sought records from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles revealing the names of anyone seeking a gender marker change.
Paxton’s latest order comes the same week Texas legislators, back in session after two years, are attempting to ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state.
A protest Wednesday against S.B. 14 saw hundreds of demonstrators overwhelmed by law enforcement. Three protesters were arrested, while one was banned from the state capitol for a year for unfurling an enormous banner that read, “Let Trans Kids Grow Up.”
The highly-partisan Republican attorney general wrote: “It is now alarmingly common for fringe activists to use their positions in medicine and health care to force experimental life-altering procedures onto children.”
“Across the country there are doctors and healthcare professionals who appear willing to sacrifice the long-term health of American children,” Paxton continued, “all in service to the increasingly dangerous fad of ‘transgender’ extremism. It is deeply disturbing and there is no place for it in Texas.”
Contrary to his opinion, major medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, the WPATH, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that gender-affirming care is the best practice for trans youth.
Paxton promoted his Christian fundamentalist agenda in another move in December, when he filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over a federal rule, called the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Discrimination law, banning LGBTQ+ discrimination among adoption agencies.
“The SOGI Rule would force them either to adopt a radical woke agenda or surrender their mission of helping children. That’s not right…. It’s a disgrace that the Biden Administration is playing politics with our foster care and adoption services,” Paxton added about the Obama-era law. “This lawsuit aims to put our children first and to protect religious freedom.”
Paxton also expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of defending Texas’ anti-sodomy law, still on the books but moot after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.
Following Clarence Thomas’ concurrence overturning Roe v. Wade last June, which raised the prospect that the Court could allow states to ban gay sex again, Paxton told NewsNation he was “willing and able” to defend the Texas anti-sodomy law.