Medical organizations speak out against Texas efforts to criminalize gender-affirming care
Austin, TX and Washington, DC – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS), the Texas chapter of the AAP, strongly oppose the actions taken this week in Texas that directly threaten the health and well-being of transgender youth.
On Feb. 22, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and other state agencies to investigate certain gender-affirming services as child abuse, following a legal opinion that was issued by the Texas attorney general earlier this week.
The AAP has long supported gender-affirming care for transgender youth, which includes the use of puberty-suppressing treatments when appropriate, as outlined in its own policy statement, urging that youth who identify as transgender have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space in close consultation with parents.
"Pediatricians are trusted by parents to provide the care their children need to be healthy and thrive. What is happening in Texas directly undermines the care pediatricians provide their patients," said AAP President Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP. "This harmful directive leaves families seeking gender-affirming care in Texas with nowhere to turn. Pediatricians could be investigated for child abuse by simply providing evidence-based, medically necessary services. Gender affirming care is not abuse. Politics has no place in the exam room. All children deserve access to the care they need."
The Academy has repeatedly spoken out against bills that discriminate against transgender youth and their right to receive medical care, and advocated against restrictions to their rights in other states. The TPS has long-advocated against prohibitions on gender-affirming care in Texas.
For young people who identify as transgender, studies show that gender-affirming care can reduce emotional distress, improve their sense of well-being and reduce the risk of suicide.
“Evidence-based medical care for transgender and gender diverse children is a complex issue that pediatricians are uniquely qualified to provide. This directive undermines the physician-patient-family relationship and will cause undue harm to children in Texas. TPS opposes the criminalization of evidence-based, gender-affirming care for transgender youth and adolescents. We urge the prioritization of the health and well-being of all youth, including transgender youth,” said TPS President Charleta Guillory, MD, MPH, FAAP.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
The Texas Pediatric Society (TPS), the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is the premier state professional nonprofit organization of over 4,700 Texas pediatricians and medical students. TPS believes that the most important resource of the State of Texas is its children and pledges its efforts to promote their health and welfare. For more information, visit www.txpeds.org.