Texas DFPS rules certain reassignment surgeries constitutes as child abuse

Gov. Greg Abbott says that he has received a response from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services concerning whether "genital mutilation of a child through gender reassignment surgery" constitutes as child abuse. 

The Governor previously directed DFPS to issue a determination on this matter last week.

In a letter to the governor, Commissioner Jaime Masters determined that "genital mutation of a child through reassignment surgery" constitutes child abuse because it may cause "a genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child".

"Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse," reads Commissioner Masters' letter. "This surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies."

In the letter, Commissioner Masters also concludes that:

  • Allegations involving "genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery" will be promptly and thoroughly investigated and any appropriate actions will be taken.
  • Certain professionals who have cause to believe a child has been or may be abused must report that belief to DFPS within 48-hours after the professional first suspects the abuse
  • Failure to report this abuse is considered a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine, or both. The intentional concealment of such abuse is a state jail felony

The letter also states that gender reassignment surgery does not constitute abuse when medically necessary, outlining certain conditions for children:

  • whose body parts have been affected by illness or trauma
  • born with a medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development, such as the presence of both ovarian and testicular tissue
  • who do not have the normal sex chromosome structure for male or female as determined through genetic testing

The governor says that the DFPS's determination and subsequent enforcement are effective immediately.

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