5 Texas district attorneys push back on Gov. Abbott's 'child abuse' claims on transgender care

The White House also denounced the governor's directive.

February 25, 2022, 10:35 AM

Five Texas district attorneys pushed back on Gov. Greg Abbott's directive in which he called gender-transitioning and affirming procedures as "child abuse."

In a letter signed by district attorneys who represent some of the most populous counties in the state, they called the directive "un-American."

"We are deeply disturbed by Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton's cruel directives treating transgender children's access to life-saving, gender-affirming care as 'child abuse,'" the letter read.

The district attorneys stated they "will not irrationally and unjustifiably interfere with medical decisions made between children, their parents, and their medical physicians" to ensure the safety of transgender youth.

They added, "We will not allow the governor and attorney general to disregard Texan children's lives in order to score political points."

It was signed by John Creuzot of Dallas County, José Garza of Travis County, Joe Gonzales of Bexar County, Mark Gonzalez of Nueces County; and Brian Middleton of Fort Bend County.

PHOTO: LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the rights of transgender student athletes on Sept. 20, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the rights of transgender student athletes on Sept. 20, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images, FILE
PHOTO: Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot responds to questions during a news conference in Dallas, Oct. 2, 2019. He is one of the Texas DAs who plan to defy Gov. Greg Abbott's directive.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot responds to questions during a news conference in Dallas, Oct. 2, 2019. Creuzot is one of five Texas district attorneys who plan to defy Gov. Greg Abbott's directive in which he called gender-transitioning and affirming procedures "child abuse."
Tony Gutierrez/AP, FILE

In a Feb. 22 letter, Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate this kind of care among youths in the state following an official declaration from state Attorney General Ken Paxton that also called it "child abuse."

"There is no doubt that these procedures are 'abuse' under Texas law, and thus must be halted," Paxton said in a Feb. 21 press release. "The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly. I'll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans."

The letter from the DAs said, "This is part of a continued onslaught on personal freedoms. Elected officials should be protecting our most vulnerable. These two, instead, want to irrationally target and restrain children seeking medical assistance -- and force caregivers to participate."

The White House denounced the directive in a statement to ABC News on Tuesday.

"The Texas Attorney General's attack on loving parents who seek medical care for their transgender children is dangerous to the health of kids in Texas and part of much larger trend of conservative officials cynically attacking LGBTQI+ youth to score political points," a White House spokesperson told ABC News.

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