Statement: ACNM Opposes Texas Opinion on Gender-Affirming CareReleased March 10, 2022
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) strongly opposes recent actions taken in Texas by Governor Gregg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton that seek to unnecessarily harm the health and well-being of transgender and gender non-binary youth in the state. [i] In the last couple weeks, officials in Texas issued an opinion equating the provision of gender-affirming health care services to child abuse. The opinion directs the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate and penalize clinicians who provide this medically necessary and often life-saving care, thereby setting a very dangerous precedent that will endanger Texas youth and the communities that care for and support them.
“ACNM's Philosophy of Care states that all people have a right to health care that is equitable, ethical, and accessible and that upholds human dignity and diversity among groups,” stated ACNM President Cathy Collins-Fulea, DNP, CNM, FACNM. “This applies to people of every gender identity and sexual orientation. ACNM opposes any legislative or regulatory measures that seeks to erode shared-decision making between midwives and individuals and the provision of evidence-based care. Every person, regardless of age, sex, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability, or marital status has the right to safe, supportive, and affirming health care.”
Many transgender and non-binary people across the United States are underserved by our health care system and struggle to find safe spaces and providers to care for them. Gender-affirming care not only includes clinical interventions that are necessary for health and can be lifesaving, but it also includes health care that is unrelated to one’s gender identity. [ii] The legal opinion issued in Texas exacerbates the issue of lack of access to safe and evidence-based gender-affirming care and places countless individuals and families at risk of harm from inadequate and discriminatory healthcare.
ACNM urges the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to reject this opinion. ACNM affirms the rights of transgender and non-binary individuals to access care that is delivered in an unbiased, safe, respectful, and equitable manner.