State Watch

Texas judge halts state investigation into parents of transgender youth

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A Texas judge on Friday issued an injunction halting the state’s investigation into parents who provide transgender youth with puberty blockers or gender-affirming care.

Judge Amy Meachum of the District Court of Travis County ruled that the investigation ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) might not hold up in court and thus should be stopped for the interim, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas.

Meachum said Abbott’s investigation went “beyond the scope of his duty.”

The injunction means the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) cannot continue to investigate parents who provide gender-affirming care or puberty blockers to their transgender children while the case, which is scheduled for July, proceeds.
 
 
The ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal sued the state on behalf of the mother of a 16-year-old transgender youth who says she was investigated by the DFPS.
 
The ACLU said the ruling came after a long hearing on Friday involving various witnesses, including Megan Mooney, a licensed psychologist who is a mandatory reporter under the Texas law. Mooney believes she cannot comply with Abbott’s order without violating her ethical obligations and harming clients, according to the ACLU.
 
“The court’s decisive ruling today brings some needed relief to trans youth in Texas but we cannot stop fighting,” ACLU of Texas’ attorney, Brian Klosterboer, said in a statement. “Today’s witnesses — including a parent targeted by these attacks, experts on medical care, and a supervisor within Texas Child Protective Services — gave courageous and emotional testimony about the fear and harm caused by these unlawful actions. All trans young people deserve to live freely as their true selves.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who last month issued a nonbinding legal opinion arguing he believes gender-affirming care and puberty blockers for transgender teens amounted to “child abuse,” said he plans to appeal the injunction.

“Democrat judge tries to halt legal and necessary investigations into those trying to abuse our kids through ‘trans’ surgeries and prescription drugs,” Paxton wrote on Twitter. “I’m appealing. I’ll win this fight to protect our Texas children.”

Shortly after Paxton issued his legal opinion last month, Abbott ordered the state to investigate “any reported instances of these abusive procedures” in Texas.

The court last week halted the investigation and said it would consider whether to block it more broadly.

Paxton appealed, but the court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the ACLU and Lambda Legal and allowed the case to proceed.

Paul Castillo, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal, said “parents who love their transgender children and work with healthcare providers to support and affirm their well-being should be celebrated, rather than investigated as criminals as the state sought to do here.”

“We are grateful that the judge issued an order today preventing enforcement of these directives statewide against any family in Texas, and made clear that no one who counts as a mandatory reporter can be forced to turn in families for investigation simply for doing what is right for their child,” Castillo said in a statement.

Updated: 9:26 p.m.

Tags Amy Meachum Greg Abbott Ken Paxton Texas transgender youth Travis County
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