Texas Supreme Court overturns halt to investigations into care of trans youth

HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 23: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during the ‘Get Out The Vote’ campaign event on February 23, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Governor Greg Abbott joined staff at Fratelli’s Ristorante to campaign for re-election and cheer on supporters ahead of this year’s early vote. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

(AUSTIN, Texas) — The Texas Supreme Court on Friday overturned a statewide halt to investigations into parents who provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children.

However, the court also said the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is not legally required to investigate care such as child abuse based on directives from Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Attorney General. ‘State, Ken Paxton.

The court did not rule whether or not these investigations violated the rights of the families – that still depends on the lower courts.

In a Feb. 22 letter, Abbott called gender transitioning or affirmation procedures “child abuse,” following a notice from Paxton that said the same.

Paxton attacked gender-affirming care for LGBTQ youth, saying her opinion “comes at a critical time” when “Texans see the horrors that arise from the fusion 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 was being investigated by the DFPS. Meachum also heard from state attorneys.

Later that month, the Texas Court of Appeals upheld the injunction.

The state Supreme Court said neither the governor’s letter nor the attorney general’s opinion changed DFPS’s legal obligations and has no authority over the state agency. Governor Abbott was removed from the case, as the court says it has no authority over such investigations.

In February, the DFPS announced that it would comply with Paxton and Abbott’s directive. He was investigating at least nine families under Paxton’s direction, an agency spokesperson told ABC News.

“In sum, we are not directed to any source of law requiring the DFPS to base its investigative decisions on the Governor’s letter or the Attorney General’s opinion,” the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion states.

The court will also uphold the decision to block an investigation into a family suing DFPS and Governor Greg Abbott over the directive.

According to an ACLU complaint against the state, “some doctors and other providers stopped prescribing medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria to transgender youth” as a result of Abbott’s directive.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

About the author