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President Joe Biden’s administration warned Wednesday that it will take “immediate action if needed” to protect children involved in transgender surgery procedures.
Both the White House and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra issued statements Wednesday evening condemning Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX)’s direction to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the parents of children who have undergone “so-called ‘sex change’ procedures.”
“This is government overreach at its worst,” Biden said in a statement. “Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country, the Governor’s actions callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points.
“These actions are terrifying many families in Texas and beyond,” he added. “And they must stop.”
Becerra promised that HHS is “committed to protecting young Americans who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity” and said that he has directed HHS to “evaluate the tools at our disposal to protect trans and gender diverse youth in Texas.”
Harnessing the phrase “gender affirming medical care,” a phrase which activists and liberal media use to describe sex change surgery or gender transition surgery, Becerra promised that “HHS will take immediate action if needed” to protect transgender youth.
“I know that many youth and their supportive families are feeling scared and isolated because of these attacks,” he said. “HHS is closely monitoring the situation in Texas, and will use every tool at our disposal to keep Texans safe.”
Abbott had warned that “it is already against the law to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen.”
The governor warned that Texas law requires all licensed professionals with direct contact with children “who may be subject to such abuse” to report such abuse, noting that “there are similar reporting requirements and criminal penalties for members of the general public.”
“The Texas government’s attacks against transgender youth and those who love and care for them are discriminatory and unconscionable,” Becerra’s statement said. “These actions are clearly dangerous to the health of transgender youth in Texas. At HHS, we listen to medical experts and doctors, and they agree with us, that access to affirming care for transgender youth is essential and can be life-saving.”
One tool that HHS plans to use is the Office for Civil Rights, Becerra said.
“Any individual or family in Texas who is being targeted by a child welfare investigation because of this discriminatory gubernatorial order is encouraged to contact our Office for Civil Rights to report their experience.”
HHS is also releasing guidance to child welfare agencies encouraging them to “advance safety and support” for LGBTQ youth, the HHS secretary said, noting that this specifically includes access to “gender affirming care.”
The department is also releasing guidance stating that health care providers are not required to disclose “private patient information related to gender affirming care” and guidance stating that doctors cannot deny health care based on gender identity.
“If you believe that you or another party has been discriminated against on the basis of gender identity or disability in seeking to access gender affirming health care, visit the OCR complaint portal to file a complaint online,” Becerra said.
Biden emphasized that HHS’s actions are “putting the state of Texas on notice that their discriminatory actions put children’s lives at risk.”
“These announcements make clear that rather than weaponizing child protective services against loving families, child welfare agencies should instead expand access to gender-affirming care for transgender children,” Biden said.
The president added that “Respected medical organizations have said that access to gender-affirming care for transgender children can benefit mental health, lower suicide rates, and improve other health outcomes,” and insisted that families and doctors should “have the freedom to make the medical decisions that are best for each young person.”
“In the United States of America, we respect the rights and dignity of all families,” said Biden. “Transgender children bring fulfillment to their parents, joy to their friends, and are made in the image of God.”
“Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized,” he added.
During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union, President Joe Biden also urged lawmakers to enact the radically progressive Equality Act, criticizing the “onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families.”
“As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your president so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential,” Biden added.
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