The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) announced Wednesday that any genital mutilation of a child for the purposes of gender transitioning through reassignment surgery is now illegal.
Parents, state agencies or medical practitioners caught engaging in the now-illegal activity can be investigated by DFPS and those who fail to report such abuses could be subject to misdemeanor or felony charges.
On August 6th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to the DFPS asking them to determine whether genital mutilation of a child for gender transition purposes constitutes child abuse.
Abbott wrote, “Subjecting a child to genital mutilation through reassignment surgery creates a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child.’ TEX. FAM. CODE § 261.001(1)(C). This broad definition of ‘abuse’ should cover a surgical procedure that will sterilize the child, such as orchiectomy or hysterectomy, or remove otherwise healthy body parts, such as penectomy or mastectomy.”
“As you know, classifying genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery as child abuse would also impose a duty on DFPS to conduct prompt and thorough investigations of the child’s parents, while other state agencies would be obliged to investigate the facilities they license,” the governor concluded his letter.
“In your August 6, 2021 letter, you requested that the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) determine whether genital mutilation of a child for the purposes of gender transitioning through reassignment surgery constitutes child abuse pursuant to state law,” the response statement began.
The department concluded that genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is in fact a form of child abuse and those involved are subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse.
Commissioner Masters wrote, “Such mutilation may cause a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child.’ As you [Abbott] have described, this surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies.”
“Generally, children in the care and custody of a parent lack the legal capacity to consent to surgical treatments, making them more vulnerable.”
The document outlines certain scenarios where emergency medical surgeries may be necessary and therefore would not constitute child abuse.
Going forward, any professionals who have a reason to believe a child is being or has been abused with gender reassignment surgery will be forced to report that scenario to DFPS.
“Failure to report is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both,” the paper stated. “If it is shown that the professional intentionally concealed the abuse, then the offense is a state jail felony.”