Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Bill Banning Medical 'Trans-ing' of Children

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed a new law banning hormone and puberty-blocking drugs, and surgeries on minors. Senate Bill 14 takes effect on September 1, making Texas the largest state to ban the medical transition of youth.

Under the legislation, doctors are prohibited from performing mastectomies or surgeries that sterilize minors, or remove healthy tissue or body parts. Additionally, they are barred from prescribing drugs that induce temporary or permanent infertility. The measure has drawn criticism from transgender Texans and their allies, who view it as a politicized attack on the rights of transgender individuals. On the other side, proponents of the law have described these procedures as “mutilation.”

Author of SB 14’s companion bill, state Rep. Tom Oliverson (R) wrote on Twitter:

Children in Texas are officially protected from harmful, experimental medical and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria. Thank you for signing SB14 @GovAbbott. We knew there would be court challenges. SB14 was written with that in mind and will prevail.

Texas is home to a significant population of transgender-identifying youth, with an estimated 30,000 individuals between the ages of 13 and 17. According to researchers at the Williams Institute, a center that studies the demographics of LGBTQ populations, nearly 30,000 transgender people ages 13-17 live in Texas, or 1.42 percent of the age bracket, making it one of the states with the largest populations of transgender youth. Medical professionals are divided on the appropriate age for accessing transition-related treatments.

The bill’s passage follows a trend among Republican-led states to restrict medically transitioning minors, which has become a line in the sand among conservatives, with Arkansas passing the first ban in April 2021. Previously, Texas officials had taken steps to limit access to medical transition care, with Gov. Abbott directing the state’s child protective agency to investigate parents for child abuse if their children received such treatments.

In September 2022, Travis County District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued an injunction blocking the child welfare investigations, if families are members of PFLAG, an advocacy group formerly named Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc. Then last May, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the order was too broad and should only apply to plaintiffs with legal action pending against the state.

The bill’s passage through the legislature faced obstacles, including protests and procedural delays caused by Democrats in the statehouse. House Republicans passed an amendment that includes limited exemptions for children who initiated non-surgical gender-affirming care prior to June 1, 2023. These exemptions apply to individuals who have undergone at least 12 sessions of mental health counseling or psychotherapy within the six months preceding the commencement of prescription drug care. The added language provides that minors currently undergoing prescribed medical treatment would have the opportunity to gradually reduce and discontinue the medication to wean themselves “over a safe and medically appropriate duration.”

After the Senate’s passage, the bill’s author Senator Donna Campbell (R), who is also an emergency room physician, tweeted:

Here in Texas, we will protect our kids! Thank you to everyone who supported and helped pass my bill. I look forward to @GovAbbott‘s signature soon. 

Violators of the law risk losing their medical licenses, and the statute gives enforcement authority to the state’s Attorney General. Following the legislature’s passage of the bill last month, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and Transgender Law Center all threatened to sue if Governor Abbott signed the bill. Legal challenges are expected against the new law in the months leading up to its scheduled implementation on September 1.


Trending on RedState Videos