The Back MicThe Back Mic: Abbott Aims to Classify Child Gender Transitions as Abuse, Supreme Court May Trigger Texas Abortion Ban, Open Seats Updated

This week — Gov. Abbott says that an agency is poised to classify child gender procedures as child abuse, Texas’ abortion trigger ban readies ahead of a Supreme Court decision, and open legislative seats are listed.
December 3, 2021

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Abbott Points to Classifying Chemical Castration as “Child Abuse”

In a radio interview with Dallas’ Mark Davis, Governor Greg Abbott said that a letter from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) reclassifying the use of puberty blockers and chemical castration on minors as child abuse is waiting in the wings.

“A letter was already prepared by the head of DFPS concerning things like puberty blockers and all those other items you talked about, and it was being delivered to me on the day that a request was made for an attorney general opinion [on its legality],” Abbott said.

A similar maneuver was made back in August, but it only encompassed gender modification surgeries.

The whole host of other gender-altering services was not included. Shortly thereafter, Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse city) requested that DFPS place chemical procedures, mastectomies, and transition counseling among that child abuse consideration.

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Punting on that request, the DFPS said it must wait on a legal opinion from the Office of the Attorney General triggered by Rep. Matt Krause’s (R-Fort Worth) inquiry in late August.

Paxton said Thursday that an opinion is expected to come within the next week.

All the agency jockeying could be put to rest by legislative action, though. Calls for a fourth special are building, especially to ban vaccine mandates, but the governor has declined to commit to convening the legislature on that issue or any other.

“That could happen at any time,” Abbott said when pressed by Davis.

Texas Implications of SCOTUS Abortion Case

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard arguments this week in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, concerning a Mississippi abortion law that prohibits abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy.

Dobbs could hold implications for the efficacy of Roe v. Wade, the nation’s most famous judicial precedent on the matter of abortion. Especially after the initial arguments, there is new optimism among the pro-life crowd that SCOTUS could strike down Roe as precedent — something that movement has been pining for since 1973.

The court will likely not issue an opinion on the case until some point next year, but should it strike down Roe, Texas law is ready and waiting.

This year, the Texas legislature passed the abortion “Trigger Ban” which bans abortion automatically if Roe is overturned.

House Bill 1280 — which would go into effect 30 days after the overturning of Roe or Planned Parenthood v. Casey — punishes abortions as first-degree felonies, sets abortion attempts that do not kill the child as a second-degree felony, and provides up to $100,000 in civil penalties.

Across Texas, 38 localities have made themselves “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” by passing local abortions bans. Though these bans are currently enforced by civil lawsuits, much like the Heartbeat Act, they also authorize municipal punishments in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.

SCOTUS opinions typically come just before the court recesses in June.

Updated List of Open State Legislative Seats

When the Texas legislature next meets for a regular session in 2023, there are sure to be many new faces. With 27 in the House and five in the Senate, here’s a list of the Texas legislature’s open seats heading into the 2022 midterms:


  • District 13 ‒ Ben Leman (R-Anderson) is retiring
  • District 17 ‒ John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) is retiring
  • District 19 ‒ James White (R-Hillister) is running for agriculture commissioner
  • District 22 ‒ Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont) is retiring
  • District 23 ‒ Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville) is running for Senate District 11
  • District 37 ‒ Alex Dominguez (R-Brownsville) was drawn out of the district and is running for Senate District 27
  • District 38 ‒ Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville) is retiring
  • District 50 ‒ Celia Israel (D-Austin) is retiring and may run for Austin mayor
  • District 51 ‒ Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) is running for the 35th Congressional District
  • District 52 ‒ James Talarico (D-Round Rock) is running for House District 50
  • District 61 ‒ Phil King (R-Weatherford) is running for Senate District 10
  • District 63 ‒ Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) is running for Senate District 12
  • District 65 ‒ Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) was drawn into House District 63 and is running for lieutenant governor
  • District 70 ‒ Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) is retiring
  • District 73 ‒ Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) is retiring
  • District 76 ‒ Claudia Ordaz Perez (D-El Paso) was drawn into House District 77
  • District 84 ‒ John Frullo (R-Lubbock) is retiring
  • District 85 ‒ Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton) was drawn into House District 26
  • District 92 ‒ Jeff Cason (R-Bedford) is retiring
  • District 93 ‒ Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) is running for Tarrant County district attorney
  • District 100 ‒ Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) is running for the 30th Congressional District
  • District 114 ‒ John Turner (D-Dallas) is retiring
  • District 122 ‒ Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) is retiring
  • District 124 ‒ Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio) is running for Bexar County judge
  • District 127 – Dan Huberty (R-Humble) is retiring
  • District 133 – Jim Murphy (R-Houston) is retiring
  • District 147 – Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) is retiring


  • District 11 ‒ Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) is retiring
  • District 12 ‒ Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) is retiring
  • District 24 ‒ Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) is running for land commissioner
  • District 27 ‒ Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) is retiring
  • District 31 ‒ Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) is retiring

For more information about the 2022 election races, check out The Texan’s War Room.

Correction: The article has been updated with corrected information about the nature of the “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” ordinances. We regret the error. 


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Brad Johnson

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.