Texas bans gender-affirming care for minors

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation into law June 2 that bars minors from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapies and gender transition surgery. 

Senate Bill 14 will go into effect Sept. 1, making Texas the largest state to restrict gender-affirming care for youth. The law bans insurance plans from covering services "intended to transition a child's biological sex." Medical professionals who violate the law risk their medical license.

The Texas law includes exceptions on non-surgical treatment for children who were receiving puberty blockers or hormone therapies before June 1 and who underwent at least 12 sessions of mental health counseling or psychotherapy before treatment began. Transgender youth who meet these exceptions must "wean off the prescription" over a period of time "in a manner that is safe and medically appropriate." 

In anticipation of the bill becoming law, Texas Children's Hospital in Houston told employees in late May that it would cease providing transgender care services. Texas Children's and Austin-based Dell Children's Medical Center were part of an attorney general investigation on allegations that providers were "unlawfully" offering gender-transition care for minors. At the time, gender-affirming care for minors in Texas was not illegal, though Mr. Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton had led efforts to label it as child abuse. 

At least 18 states now have restrictions in place on gender-affirming care for youth, according to The Texas Tribune.

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