Story at a glance
- Texas on Friday appealed a judge’s order blocking the state from investigating a transgender teenager’s parents for allowing their child to receive gender-affirming care.
- The temporary restraining order granted by a judge Wednesday halted an investigation into the 16-year-old girl’s parents, one of which is a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) employee.
- A hearing has already been set for March 11 to determine whether the state’s efforts should be blocked more broadly.
Texas officials have appealed a judge’s order blocking the state from investigating a transgender teenager’s parents for allowing their child to receive gender-affirming care, which Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has called “child abuse.”
The appeal notice first posted by the Austin American-Statesman newspaper was filed Thursday to overturn a temporary restraining order issued by Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum on Wednesday.
The order was granted in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas and Lambda Legal on behalf of a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) employee whose 16-year-old daughter is transgender. Abbott and the DFPS, along with its commissioner Jaime Masters, are named as defendants.
Meachum in her order found the family faces “imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”
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A hearing has been set for March 11 to determine whether the state’s efforts should be blocked more broadly.
Abbott late last month ordered state agencies to investigate gender-affirming health care as child abuse following an opinion authored by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) in which he said that some types of gender-affirming treatment amounted to “abuse” under his interpretation of Texas law.
The DFPS has opened at least three child welfare inquiries following Abbott’s directive, Reuters reported.
Several district attorneys in Texas have already said they will not prosecute the families of trans youth, and Abbott’s and Paxton’s views to the contrary have been denounced by the White House.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) late Wednesday issued new guidance clarifying that child welfare agencies have a responsibility to protect transgender youth by making gender-affirming care accessible, even to minors.
In a statement, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra called the Texas government’s actions “unconscionable” and pledged to take “immediate action if needed” to support the state’s transgender youth and their families.
The same day, in a statement released by the White House, President Biden called Abbott’s order “government overreach at its worst” and accused the governor of launching an attack on transgender youth and their families “just to score political points.”
“Children, their parents, and their doctors should have the freedom to make the medical decisions that are best for each young person—without politicians getting in the way,” he said.
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