In a press release issued Wednesday, Paxton publicized an amicus brief he joined in support of the State of Alabama, currently facing a constitutional challenge to the new law.
“I support any law in any state that protects vulnerable children from the sexual predations of the left,” Paxton stated in the release.
“I trust that the Alabama law will withstand judicial scrutiny, and I’m proud to help.”
Among other arguments, the brief compares the current medical trend to the opioid epidemic, especially with regards to seeming consensus among medical associations informed by sparse academic study.
“We have been here before: Not many years ago, ‘pain management’ was advocated as a ‘fundamental human right,’ with some physicians dismissing as ‘opioidphobic’ other physicians’ concern that ‘raising pain treatment to a “patient’s rights” issue could lead to overreliance on opioids.’ Experts created new consensus-based standards and assured doctors that prescribing more opioids was largely risk free,” the brief reads before observing that no large national studies were conducted to support the standards.
“The U.S. opioid epidemic, with its continuing fallout for millions of shattered lives, was the tragic result.”
The brief goes on to cite several academic studies that find no net benefit in medical transition.
The Alabama legislature passed the law as Senate Bill 184 and codified it as Act 289.
It took effect on May 8, and Alabama hospitals are complying.
The law makes it a felony to prescribe or administer puberty blockers or supraphysiologic doses of opposite sex hormones to children. It also outlaws surgeries that sterilize the child, artificially construct new genitalia, or remove healthy body tissue. It does not punish these procedures when performed on adults, nor does it apply to medical procedures undertaken to treat children with sex development disorders.
A Birmingham pastor joined several parents and doctors to sue the State of Alabama on April 19 and sought a temporary injunction to block the law. A hearing was held last week to consider an injunction. According to the case docket, an opinion is expected by the end of this week.
The Texas legislature considered several similar bills during the 2021 session, but none reached the floor of the Texas House.
State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) filed a bill that would have authorized the Texas Medical Board to revoke the licenses of doctors that perform these procedures on children. It made the farthest progress out of any bill to ban child gender transition in the Texas legislature, being the only bill to pass out of the Public Health Committee chaired by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth). The Calendars Committee, chaired by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), set the bill too low on the House’s agenda to receive a vote by the midnight deadline.
Notably, Alabama’s law also prohibits school employees from withholding information about a child’s perception of his or her gender from the child’s parents. They also may not “encourage or coerce” the child to withhold that information.
No legislation proposed in Texas included this provision.
In a major shift from his previous reticence, Governor Greg Abbott later asked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting child abuse, to treat genital transition surgeries as abuse under existing Texas law. The agency agreed.
Krause then submitted an official opinion request to Paxton inquiring whether Texas law might also classify puberty blockers and surgeries on other parts of the body as abuse. A period of reluctant inaction followed, but Paxton eventually issued an official opinion arguing that these procedures do violate Texas law, especially procedures that have the effect of sterilizing the child.
Abbott then directed DFPS to begin treating these procedures as abuse as well. However, a court order currently prevents the DFPS from acting on Abbott’s directive. The State of Texas is waiting on the Supreme Court of Texas to decide whether or not to take up the case.
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