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Texas Attorney General ramps up investigations for unlawful care of children

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion in February stating certain “sex-change” procedures for children qualified as child abuse. Unfortunately, these procedures expand beyond surgical procedures and can include prescriptions of certain medications. Medical professionals throughout the state are wise to stay aware of these changes to make sure their practice does not unwittingly find itself under investigation.

What procedures fall within this release?

Not surprisingly, based on the Attorney General’s recommendations procedures that include castration and fabrication of genitalia done on minors qualify as child abuse under this official opinion. Medical professionals should also note that prescription of puberty-suppression medications and infertility-inducers can also qualify.

Is the Attorney General following through?

Yes. Thus far two separate hospitals have found themselves under investigation for alleged violations. The Attorney General has pointed to “unhinged activists” that may compromise healthcare systems in the state and encourage medical professionals to move forward with these forms of treatment.

Although the statement seems to point at extreme procedures the reality may be much more inclusive. For example, thus far it appears that the reason for the treatment does not impact the potential for an investigation and possible consequences if evidence of a violation is present. This could pose a problem for medical professionals who use these treatments for other concerns, such as doctors that prescript puberty-suppression medications for children with precocious puberty.

Is there anything else medical professionals in Texas should know about this issue?

This is just one of many movements within the state to stop these forms of treatment. Lawmakers are also considering various pieces of legislation that could further restrain a medical professional’s ability to provide care. Such regulations can cause more than frustration in the practice of medicine, they can result in allegations of a violation that trigger an official investigation and put a medical professional’s license at risk. It is important to take such allegations seriously to help protect your license and reduce the risk of ramifications like a suspension or revocation of a nursing or medical license.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.