Texas Supreme Court overturns halt on investigations into trans youth care
Written by Kiara Alfonseca ABC News on May 13, 2022
(AUSTIN, Texas) — The Texas Supreme Court reversed the statewide halt on investigations into parents who provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children on Friday.
However, the court also stated that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is not legally obligated to investigate such care as child abuse based on the directives from Gov. Greg Abbott and state Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The court did not rule whether such investigations violate the families’ rights or not — that is still up to lower courts.
In a Feb. 22 letter, Abbott called gender-transitioning or affirming procedures “child abuse,” following an opinion from Paxton that said the same.
Paxton attacked gender-affirming care for LGBTQ youth, saying that his opinion “comes at a critical time” when “Texans are seeing the horrors that flow from the merging of medicine and misguided ideology.”
State District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary injunction on the directive in March after hearing from the parents of a 16-year-old transgender girl who were under investigation by DFPS. Meachum also heard from attorneys from the state.
The Texas Court of Appeals later that month affirmed the injunction.
The state Supreme Court said that neither the governor’s letter nor the attorney general’s opinion changed the legal obligations of the DFPS and have no authority over the state agency. Gov. Abbott was dismissed from the case, because the court states he has no authority over such investigations.
In February, the DFPS announced that it would comply with Paxton and Abbott’s directive. It was investigating at least nine families under Paxton’s directive, an agency spokesperson told ABC News.
“In sum, we are directed to no source of law obligating DFPS to base its investigatory decisions on the Governor’s letter or the Attorney General’s Opinion,” the opinion from the Texas Supreme Court states.
The court also will uphold the decision to block an investigation into a family that is suing the DFPS and Governor Greg Abbott over the directive.
According to an ACLU complaint against the state, “some doctors and other providers have discontinued prescribing medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria to transgender youth” as a result of Abbott’s directive.
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