In anticipation of a Texas bill — which aims to curb gender-transition care and which was sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk on May 19 — becoming law, Texas Children’s CEO Mark Wallace told employees the hospital will cease providing some transgender care services within the next few months, according to an email sent May 24 and obtained by the news outlets.
The hospital is one of two Texas facilities part of an attorney general investigation based on allegations of providers “unlawfully performing” gender-transition procedures.
A screenshot of the email was first posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. A hospital spokesperson confirmed its authenticity to the Houston Chronicle. In the email, Wallace said the hospital will “continue to offer psychosocial support and any form of care we can within the bounds of the law.” A Texas Children’s spokesperson said Wednesday that the hospital so far is not canceling any appointments related to transgender care.
In the email, Mr. Wallace said “we will work with patients and their families to manage the discontinuation of hormone therapies or source appropriate care outside of Texas,” according to KTRK. The hospital said it plans to continue offering psychological care that complies with state laws.
“The transition we will embark on is going to be immensely heart-wrenching, but we will lead through this adversity and navigate these next steps together with grace, love and compassion like we always do,” Wallace said in the email. “I understand that there are many viewpoints and opinions related to this matter, but I want to remind everyone that our mission is to create a healthier future for all children.”
The email followed an announcement last week from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton saying he intended to investigate whether Texas Children’s is “illegally” performing transgender care. His announcement came after a conservative activist posted what he said was evidence that the hospital “secretly” provided such care. That activist posted Wallace’s email to staff on Twitter. Paxton had previously announced a similar investigation at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin.
Senate Bill 14, which would ban transgender care for minors, has not been signed into law, though Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to do so. The state Senate approved a final draft of the legislation last week. The legislation prohibits doctors from prescribing medications such as puberty blockers or from performing surgeries on minors diagnosed with psychological distress about their gender identity.
A previous statewide directive to investigate medical treatment for transgender youth as child abuse has been paused since a district court ruling last year. Puberty blockers and hormone therapy are widely accepted treatments for patients with gender dysphoria, which is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as psychological distress and anxiety due to a mismatch between a person’s gender identity and their assigned sex at birth.
In his email, Wallace said changes to gender transition care will take place “over the next few months.” He described the upcoming changes as “painful.”
“It is difficult for me, the In-Chiefs & Chairs, executives, faculty, staff and care teams to know that this is where we find ourselves,” he said. “However, I want to assure all of you that through this period and after, we all remain dedicated to educating the amplifying the importance of safe, high-quality transgender medicine programs.”
Wallace went on to ask for “support, empathy and care” for the children, families and care teams affected by the legislation.
Fri, 05/26/2023 – 21:20