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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Gov. Abbott Prioritizes Dog Tethering Instead of Outlawing Child Mutilation

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AUSTIN — After a nationally known child abuse case in Texas, and a years-long fight to protect children, Texans are wondering why state officials continue to allow medical professionals to disfigure minors across the state—and why they’re prioritizing dogs instead.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced his agenda for the state Legislature’s upcoming October special session, including items such as a ban on tethering dogs. The Legislature can only consider the governor’s priority items during a special session.

Notably absent from Abbott’s list of items, however, is a priority child protection law.

The Recent Timeline

At issue are gender mutilation procedures. Currently in Texas, medical professionals are allowed to cut off children’s healthy body parts as part of gender surgeries, or chemically castrate them by giving them sterilizing cross-sex hormones and puberty blocker drugs.

The issue surfaced in large part due to the high-profile case of James Younger, a 9-year-old from Dallas whose mother wanted to force him—against his father’s wishes—to take sterilizing drugs and eventually be castrated.

Since the national coverage of the case two years ago, the issue became a Republican Party of Texas priority (with nearly 2 million Texans also voting to support protections in a Republican primary election). Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office even wrote the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the matter (with no apparent results). Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled state Legislature chose to reject proposed laws that would have outlawed the operations, and Gov. Abbott remained nearly silent on the issue the whole time.

Finally, in early August, Abbott made an “announcement” on the matter—by sending a public letter to his Department of Family and Protective Services, asking them to decide if cutting off a child’s healthy body parts in such surgeries classifies as child abuse.

Though DFPS confirmed

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