House Bill 1029 states, “No funds authorized or appropriated by State law shall be expended for any gender reassignment.”
“Just as the Hyde Amendment, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for almost 50 years, bans tax dollars from funding abortions, I’m proud to file a bill which protects Texans from being forced to pay for their neighbor’s sex change,” Harrison said in a statement. “Irrespective of how anyone views these procedures, it should be uncontroversial that tax money should not fund them.”
Harrison added that the bill was filed in response to a statement made by President Biden’s Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra that public money should be used to provide these procedures to those who want them.
Modeled after the federal “Hyde Amendment” — a law approved in 1977 that has since prohibited the use of public dollars to finance abortions — Harrison’s bill exempts procedures on those classified as “intersex.”
At the turn of the century, Brown University Professor Anne Fausto-Sterling estimated that 1.7 percent of the U.S. population had “intersex traits.” That would amount to 4.8 million people as of the year 2000. Two years later, Leonard Sax, a psychologist and family physician, objected to that figure, saying that it is closer to 0.018 percent — amounting to about 50,000 people in 2002.
“Many reviewers are not aware that this figure includes conditions which most clinicians do not recognize as intersex,” Sax says, “such as Klinefelter syndrome, Turner syndrome, and late-onset adrenal hyperplasia.”
With abortion largely off the table as a preeminent issue — due to the two laws passed last session prohibiting the practice and the overturning of Roe v. Wade — gender modification, specifically pertaining to minors, will likely receive more attention when the Legislature reconvenes.
Multiple versions of legislation prohibiting gender modification procedures for children have already been filed as GOP legislators hope to codify what’s been done through executive action since February. Last year, Gov. Greg Abbott asked the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to determine whether the use of puberty blockers and reassignment surgeries on minors constitutes child abuse.
Last August, DFPS determined that gender reassignment surgeries met the child abuse standard, but punted on puberty blockers until Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an official opinion supporting that contention in February.
For most of this year, instances of both have been investigated as child abuse by the agency, but the directive is currently facing multiple legal challenges.
Last session, a ban on child gender modification procedures died in the House at the May second reading deadline and a similar Senate version didn’t make it through the lower chamber’s Public Health Committee.
After DFPS began its child abuse investigations, Texas Children’s Hospital announced it’d cease providing gender modification services.
The 88th Texas Legislature convenes on January 10, when the five-month sprint to push legislation across the finish line begins.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.