Biden's HHS Threatens to Intervene After Texas Moves to Protect Children: 'Will Take Immediate Action if Needed'


When a Democratic president accuses a Republican of “government overreach,” it generally means either a joke or hypocrisy is at work. When the president is Joe Biden and the Republican is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, it means a fight is brewing.

On Feb. 22, Abbott directed the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate “abusive gender-transitioning procedures” for children, such as surgery and puberty blockers, which “constitute child abuse under existing Texas law.”

On Wednesday, Biden called the move “government overreach at its worst” and — apparently not realizing the irony — both he and his secretary of Health and Human Services said they would “take immediate action if necessary” to ensure “gender-affirming care for transgender children” in Texas.

The administration’s move is hardly surprising, considering how pretty much every corner of the left has now bought into the prevailing dogma on transgenderism and children — namely, that parents can and should be able to subject their child to unproven treatments if the children “identify” as a different gender. Here at The Western Journal, we’ve covered how this is based more on ideology than science — and we’ll continue to do so. You can help by subscribing.

Abbott’s letter noted that since the unproven treatments constituted “child abuse,” medical professionals were required to report parents who subjected their children to them and directed the commissioner of the DFPS to look into cases of abuse, as well.

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This was a bridge too far for the Biden administration, as you might imagine.

According to The Daily Wire, both the statements from the White House and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra were issued Wednesday evening.

“The Governor of Texas has directed state officials to open child abuse investigations into families simply because they have provided access to affirming care for their children,” Biden said in the statement.

“This is government overreach at its worst. Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country, the Governor’s actions callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points,” he continued.

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“These actions are terrifying many families in Texas and beyond. And they must stop.”

Biden’s remarks linked to Becerra’s separate statement, titled “Reaffirming HHS Support and Protection for LGBTQI+ Children and Youth.”

“The Texas government’s attacks against transgender youth and those who love and care for them are discriminatory and unconscionable. These actions are clearly dangerous to the health of transgender youth in Texas,” Becerra said in the statement.

“At HHS, we listen to medical experts and doctors, and they agree with us, that access to affirming care for transgender youth is essential and can be life-saving.

“HHS is committed to protecting young Americans who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and supporting their parents, caretakers and families,” he continued.

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“That is why I directed my team to evaluate the tools at our disposal to protect trans and gender diverse youth in Texas, and today I am announcing several steps we can take to protect them.”

These steps included guidance to state child welfare agencies that they “should use their child welfare systems to advance safety and support for LGBTQI+ youth,  which importantly can include access to gender affirming care.”

Becerra’s department also released guidance for Texas medical practitioners on patient privacy and stated that “denials of health care based on gender identity are illegal.”

Becerra also said he “called on all of HHS to explore all options to protect kids, their parents, caretakers and families” and would “ensure that families and health care providers in Texas are aware of all the resources available to them if they face discrimination as a result of this discriminatory gubernatorial order.”

“HHS will take immediate action if needed,” Becerra said in the statement. “I know that many youth and their supportive families are feeling scared and isolated because of these attacks.”

Golly, this all sounds pretty dire.

So what are these “attacks” on children who supposedly identify as transgender, this dread example of “government overreach at its worst?” (I mean, usually when Joe Biden hears those words, he asks where he can co-sign it.)

Gov. Abbott’s letter, considerably shorter and less empurpled than any of the outrage from the White House or HHS, makes it pretty clear that he’s talking about “a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen.”

Or, translated into basic English: Parents cannot pursue sex-change surgeries for minors, nor can they subject their children to hormone treatments or puberty blockers. As the BBC reported last year, such drugs have received only minimal study for long-term use in children.

All of these are dangerous and unproven treatments for supposed gender dysphoria, which has a high level of “desistance” in children and adolescents. In other words, these individuals stop being transgender. Yet, they’re subjected to permanent effects for what was, in effect, a temporary condition. And as much as the left wants to push the idea that “desistance” is a myth, it isn’t.

This all makes Abbott’s order sound like common sense. Not to President Biden, though.

“Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized,” he said in his statement.

“Jill and I are standing with the incredibly brave transgender children, their parents, and families throughout Texas and around the country, and we will continue to fight for a future where all children can thrive.”

If he were really doing that, really fighting for children, the White House’s statement would be commending Abbott for his bold leadership, and HHS would be announcing the policy was being implemented on a nationwide basis. Instead, both are promising an ugly showdown with Texas in court.

Funny how that works.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture