AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of gender-confirming care for kids as “child abuse."
The order follows an opinion by the state's attorney general, which claims gender-confirming procedures "constitute child abuse."
Despite the opinion and order from the governor, the immediate impact is unclear.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) says there were no open cases based on the governor’s directive.
A staff attorney from the ACLU told NBC News that Abbott's order has no legal effect, however, he warned of other consequences.
“They spread fear and misinformation and could spur false reporting of child abuse at a time when DFPS is already facing a crisis in our state’s foster care system,” Brian Klosterboer told NBC News. “The law is clear that parents, guardians, and doctors can provide transgender youth with treatment in accordance with prevailing standards of care. Any parent or guardian who loves and supports their child and is taking them to a licensed health care provider is not engaging in child abuse.”
The GOP has been campaigning across the country to restrict transgender rights.
Arkansas became the first state to pass a law prohibiting gender confirming treatments for minors, and Tennessee approved a similar measure.