Texas trans children and their families will not be investigated for abuse, according to a second Texas appeals court.
In February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate all gender-affirming care on minors as child abuse, following an opinion piece by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“There is no doubt that sex-change procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” wrote Paxton, against actual child development science and against the fact that no one is performing so called “sex-change” procedures on minors anywhere in the country. Gender-affirming care available to minors is limited to therapeutic support and in rare cases puberty blockers, which allow a child time to learn what they really want or need before making more serious decisions as an adult, and do no long-term harm.
Abbott’s letter alleges that Texas law requires all licensed professions (meaning doctors, nurses, therapists, and teachers) to report any gender-affirming care as suspected abuse, or be reported as abusers themselves with potential criminal penalties.
As of March 11, nine families of Texas trans children were under investigation under this interpretation of the law. A court case by the family of a 16-year-old transgender girl led to District Judge Amy Clark Meachum’s statewide injunction against such investigations. Meachum heard testimony from the state attorneys on Abbott’s side, and medical organizations, activist groups, and transgender adults on the other. The state could not find a medical expert to support their case.
“As physicians, our job is to support the health and well-being of our patients,” read a letter signed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and more. “Recent legal opinions and executive and legislative efforts targeting young people and aimed at curtailing the provision of appropriate medical care undermine our ability to do so.”
On Tuesday, a Texas appeals court blocked the investigations for a second time.
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