The Texas state legislature is working to pass a bill that would classify gender-affirming care for transgender children as child abuse and potentially see them separated from their parents, Insider reports.
SB1646 would prohibit parents from “administering or supplying, or consenting to or assisting in the administering or supplying of puberty suppression prescription drug or cross-sex hormone to a child, other than an intersex child, for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment.”
The bill would change the state’s definition of child abuse to include parents allowing trans minors to access hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and puberty blockers, two types of treatment commonly prescribed to trans minors by medical professionals.
What makes the Texas bill unique is its proposed punitive measures focus on the families of trans children rather than medical providers. Texas is one of just two states (the other, New Hampshire) considering a trans medical ban that classifies gender-affirming care as child abuse.
This could send trans children into the foster care system if their families try to get them needed care.
Experts worry that if bills like this pass, it could result in a mental health crisis for trans children in these states, Insider reported.
Studies have shown that the younger trans youth have access to gender-affirming care, the less likely they are to have depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations later in life.
“As you are removing access to medical care, you’re essentially saying ‘we are okay with having these kids be at increased risk for suicide and self-harm and depression and anxiety,'” Dr. Alann Weissman-Ward, Medical Director for Plume, previously told Insider.
Advocates like Adri Perez, a policy and advocacy strategist for the ACLU of Texas, say the bill could cost trans children their lives if passed.
“Gender-affirming care is essential and life-saving care,” Perez said in a video posted to Twitter. “Make no mistake, restricting and even criminalizing access to healthcare for transgender people will cost lives.”
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