Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (right)Photo: screenshot
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has opened an investigation into the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, the attorney general’s office announced Friday, looking for “possible illegal activity.”
Paxton posted on Twitter that the investigation concerned possible “gender reassignment of minors” at the facility, after the Attorney General issued a Request for Investigation, or RTE, demanding “answers about the alleged activities” at the hospital.
“I am launching a Dell Children’s Medical Center investigation regarding minor gender reassignment,” Paxton wrote, announcing the investigation. “Minors who change their sex are child abuse and child abuse will not be tolerated.”
The RTE is following an undercover video recently published by the far-right activist group Project Veritas, which allegedly shows a Dell Children’s employee discussing gender-affirming treatment for patients “as young as eight, nine”.
Gender-affirming care for minors does not include genital surgery. For young children, it means being allowed to dress and wear the clothes of their gender. For older kids, it could be reversible puberty inhibitors, which have been shown to reduce lifetime suicide risk among transgender people who wanted and got them. For older teens, it may include hormone replacement therapy and, in some rare cases, top surgery.
Gender affirmative care for minors is currently legal in Texas, but Paxton’s office issued a nonbinding legal opinion in 2022 describing the practice as “child abuse.”
That opinion served as legal cover for Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s (R) infamous order directing the state’s Department of Family and Protection Services (DFPS) to investigate families of transgender minors. A Texas judge has shut down those investigations, but both Paxton and Abbott have continued to harass trans families.
Trans children were taken out of class for questioning even after the court order halted DFPS investigations. Paxton’s office also sought records from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles revealing the names of anyone seeking a gender marker.
Paxton’s latest order comes the same week Texas lawmakers, back in session after two years, seek to ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state.
At a protest Wednesday against SB 14, hundreds of protesters were overpowered by law enforcement officials. Three protesters were arrested, while one was banned from entering the capital for a year for unfurling a huge banner reading “Let Trans Kids Grow Up”.
The highly partisan Republican attorney general wrote, “It is now alarmingly common for fringe activists to use their positions in medicine and health care to force experimental life-changing procedures on children.”
“Across the country, there are doctors and health professionals who seem willing to sacrifice the long-term health of American children,” Paxton continued, “all in the service of the increasingly dangerous craze of ‘transgender’ extremism. It’s very disturbing and has no place in Texas.”
Contrary to his view, major medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, the WPATH and the American Academy of Pediatrics, say gender-affirming care is best practice for trans youth.
Paxton promoted his Christian fundamentalist agenda in a different way in December when he filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over a federal rule, called the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Discrimination Act, that prohibits LGBTQ+ discrimination among adoption agencies.
“The SOGI rule would force them to either adopt a radical wake agenda or give up on their mission to help children. That is not true…. It is a disgrace that the Biden administration is playing politics with our foster care and adoption services,” Paxton added of the Obama-era law. “This lawsuit aims to put our children first and protect religious freedom.”
Paxton also expressed excitement at the prospect of defending Texas’ anti-sodomy law, which is still on the books but under discussion following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.
Following the agreement of Clarence Thomas Roe against Wade last June, raising the prospect that the Court could allow states to ban gay sex again, Paxton told NewsNation he was “willing and able” to defend the Texas anti-sodomy law.