Texas Governor Greg Abbott has promised a “solution” to the “problem” of trans youth health care, which could be unveiled as soon as this week.
Conservative radio host Mark Davis asked Abbott in a Monday interview why he has not moved to ban transition-related health care for minors in a special legislative session convened earlier this month. “We have another solution that will address that problem that will be announced shortly,” the Republican leader responded.
Abbott added that the chances of a bill to ban trans health care for minors passing the Texas House during the regular session was “nil.” A bill limiting trans youth participation in school athletics died in the lower chambers of the legislature in May after sailing through the State Senate. To avoid the same fate, Abbott said he decided to find “another way of achieving the exact same thing, and it’s about a finished product as we speak right now.”
Davis pushed for further specifics, asking whether or not “crazy parents and crazy doctors will not be able to try to turn girls into boys and vice versa in the state of Texas.” Abbott declined to elaborate, simply responding: “Yeah.”
As previously reported by them., a 30-day special legislative session commenced earlier this month in which lawmakers will weigh more than a dozen anti-trans bills that failed in the normal legislative session. Although reports indicate that even more have been introduced in recent days: at least four bills that specifically target trans student athletes, four bills that would restrict health care for trans minors, and one bill would ban trans people from correcting the gender listed on their birth certificate.
Texas Republicans are also revisiting the most harmful piece of transphobic legislation put forward in 2021: a proposal that would label parents who allow their children to receive gender-affirming care as “child abusers.” Affirming parents could potentially have their kids taken away if the bill is signed into law.
A pair of anti-trans sports bans, Senate Bill 2 and 32, have already passed through the GOP-controlled Senate, and Abbott promised in May that he would sign such a measure into law. However, it’s unclear if the bills will make it to Abbott’s desk, since there may not even be enough members of the House to pass them: Texas Democrats left the state last week to prevent the passage of a restrictive Republican-sponsored voting bill.
Although it’s unclear what Abbott has in mind, Texas would be the third state this year to restrict transition-related health care to minors if he moves forward with his pledge. Arkansas forced a first-of-its-kind bill into law banning gender-affirming care for minors in April, which went into effect on July 1. Tennessee passed a law in May that restricts transition-related care for prepubertal youth, despite the fact that hormones and puberty blockers are very rarely provided to children in that age group.
Arkansas’ law is currently being challenged in court. As that case moves through the legal system, 17 Republican-led states — including Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee — filed a legal brief last Wednesday that defends the right to restrict trans youth of all ages from accessing life-saving care.
Even if these anti-LGBTQ+ laws are ultimately defeated, their impact on young people will remain profound and far-reaching. According to a recent national survey from The Trevor Project, 94% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that politics had negatively impacted their mental health. Accordingly, the youth suicide prevention organization has received 9,400 crisis calls from Texas in the past year.
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