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Texas judge stops investigations into trans parents

Friday's Texas court ruling prevented the state from investigating child abuse and gender confirming care of transgender youth.

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Texas judge stops investigations into trans parents

Amy Clark Meachum, District Judge, issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the state's enforcement of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's directive to the Department of Family and Protective Services, to investigate reports of youth who have received such care.

The injunction expands Meachum’s earlier orderblocking state investigation into the parents of one transgender teenage girl. Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the parents of the girl, 16 years old, over the investigation and Abbott’s directive. Meachum set a July 11 trial on the challenge of Abbott's directive.

Meachum ruled, "violating separation of powers by impermissibly intruding into the legislative domain" by issuing the directive sans a new law.

This lawsuit was the first to be reported by parents following Abbott's directive.

These groups also include a psychologist who claims that the governor's directive forces him to make a choice between reporting clients to the state and losing her license.

"(Abbott’s directive) singles these families for targeted scrutiny. It stigmatizes and invades their privacy. It interferes with the fundamental rights of parents to make decisions about what's best. That's what Paul Castillo from Lambda Legal said towards the end of the daylong hearing in front of Meachum.

Paxton stated that he would appeal the judge’s decision.

Paxton tweeted, "I'll win the fight to protect Texas children."

Paxton's opinion and the governor's directive go against the nation’s largest medical organizations, including the American Medical Association. These groups have opposed Republican-backed restrictions that transgender people can file in statehouses across the country.

Arkansas was the first state to adopt a law banning gender-confirming treatments for minors last year. Tennessee also approved a similar measure. Arkansas' law was blocked by a judge, and the state appealed.

Meachum's ruling was issued the same day as dozens of companies, including Apple, Google and Johnson & Johnson, criticized Texas directives in a full-page ad published in the Dallas Morning News.

"The recent attempt by a criminalize parent for helping their transgender children access medically needed, age-appropriate health care in the state Texas goes against our values," said the ad. It also featured the headline "DISCRIMINATION Is Bad For Business."

After several hours of testimony in the parents’ lawsuit challenging Abbott's directive, Meachum made her ruling.

Friday's testimony by a child protective services supervisor revealed that she quit the department over concerns about the directive. She also stated that cases involving gender-confirming care were being treated differently from other cases.

Megan Mooney is a clinical psychologist who was also represented by the groups in lawsuit. She said that the directive of the governor has created "outright panic" among mental healthcare professionals and transgender families.

Mooney stated that parents are afraid that the child protective services will come and question their children or take them away. Mooney testified that mental health professionals fear we are violating professional codes and standards of conduct or the law.

Advocates claim the directive has had a chilling impact on gender-confirming care providers in the state. The governor's order caused Texas Children's Hospital to cease providing hormone therapy for transgender youth.

Paxton filed an appeal in federal court against the guidelines that President Joe Biden issued to respond to Texas' investigations. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthcare providers are not required by Abbott's order to reveal private patient information about gender-confirming care.


 

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