TMA in Talks With State Leadership on Gender-Affirming Care
By Amy Lynn Sorrel

In a series of meetings with state leadership, the Texas Medical Association has reiterated its opposition to the criminalization of medically necessary gender-affirming care and emphasized the need for protecting the patient-physician relationship with transgender youth and adolescents. 

TMA took action within 24 hours of Attorney General (AG) Ken Paxton’s release of a controversial legal opinion that states performing certain “medical and chemical” procedures on children and prescribing puberty-blocking drugs could be considered "child abuse.” The AG opinion goes on to state that “anyone” — including physicians — who has "reasonable cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect” must report it to authorities. Failure to do so "is a criminal offense.” 

Prior the release of the opinion, TMA and the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS) had sent a Sept. 23, 2021 letter to Attorney General Paxton generally asserting that Texas law “should not be interpreted to classify gender-affirming medical treatments as abuse.” 

TMA and TPS’s letter continued by stating, “the decision of whether and when to initiate gender-affirming treatment is personal and involves careful consideration of the risks, benefits, and factors unique to each patient and family. These are medical decisions reached in consultation between patients, parents, physicians, therapists, and other members of the health care team.” 

At press time, the talks between TMA leaders and state leadership were ongoing. Legal authorities note that while attorney general opinions are not binding, they may be persuasive. The courts interpret Texas law and the constitution.

Last Updated On

January 24, 2024

Originally Published On

March 07, 2022

Amy Lynn Sorrel

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Amy Sorrel

Amy Lynn Sorrel has covered health care policy for nearly 20 years. She got her start in Chicago after earning her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and went on to cover health care as an award-winning writer for the American Medical Association, and as an associate editor and managing editor at TMA. Amy is also passionate about health in general as a cancer survivor, avid athlete, traveler, and cook. She grew up in California and now lives in Austin with her Aggie husband and daughter.

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