At the request of Governor Greg Abbott (R), Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services recently declared that performing gender reassignment surgery on children fits the definition of child abuse.
"I think the main impact will be that the clinics and the doctors who are currently doing this type of surgery are going to stop doing it on minors," predicts the Ruth Institute's Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. "They're not going to risk their license and having these fines, and … they're not going to risk these kinds of penalties and being called a child abuser."
She says this action sends a message to other states that are allowing and even paying for gender reassignment procedures, which only changes a person's outward appearance and ignores the underlying problems.
"They're overlooking this bedrock underlying set of conditions, which could include surviving trauma, personality disorder, dissociative disorder, [or] a number of things that could be going on," Dr. Morse explains. "They're not even looking for that stuff. They're not even trying to solve underlying problems, and that's bad medicine."
Since surgery does not correct psychological problems, the Ruth Institute founder says patients struggling with gender identity need time with a psychologist, not in a surgical suite.