HOUSTON (CBSDFW/AP) – A Texas agency has ruled that the genital mutilation of a child for purposes of gender confirmation, a surgery almost never performed on minors, should be considered child abuse.

The state Department of Family and Protective Services made the determination Wednesday per Gov. Greg Abbott’s request, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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The governor sent a letter on August 6, asking the agency to issue its determination. “Subjecting a child to genital mutilation through reassignment surgery creates a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child,'” wrote Gov. Abbott. “This broad definition of ‘abuse’ should cover a surgical procedure that will sterilize the child, such as orchiectomy or hysterectomy, or remove otherwise healthy body parts, such as penectomy or mastectomy. Indeed, Texas already outlaws female genital mutilation of a child, and presumably that also constitutes child abuse.”


In its declaration, the agency agreed with Abbott’s redefinition of gender-confirming surgery as a form of genital mutilation, a technical term used by human rights activists to refer to a procedure performed on girls at a young age to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure.

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“As you have described, this surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies,” the DFPS stated in its Wednesday letter. The agency made exception for surgeries it deems “medically necessary,” including procedures to correct what it calls “medically verifiable genetic disorders of sex development”.

Abbott said the agency’s ruling was effective immediately, meaning doctors, nurses, teachers, daycare employees, and other professionals who work with children are now required to inform DFPS within 48 hours if they have reason to believe a child has or may undergo gender-confirming surgery.

In accordance with child abuse laws, those who do not report can be charged with a class A misdemeanor. DFPS will also now be duty-bound to investigate parents and medical practitioners who perform the surgeries.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSDFW.com Staff