A Texas judge blocked the state’s child abuse investigation into the parents of a transgender child pursuant to a directive issued by Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
Abbott’s policy directs Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents of children who receive hormone therapy and gender-transitioning procedures, along with any medical professional who provides such health care.
Abbott implemented this directive last week after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal option that said gender-affirming health care is considered child abuse under Texas law.
“The Texas Family Code is clear — causing or permitting substantial harm to the child or the child’s growth and development is child abuse,” Paxton wrote. “Courts have held that an unnecessary surgical procedure that removes a healthy body part from a child can constitute a real and significant injury or damage to the child.”
However, Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state from investigating the parents of a transgender child.
According to the judge, the plaintiffs “face the 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.”
The plaintiffs were an anonymous DFPS employee, her husband, their transgender child, and Dr. Megan Mooney, who has a medical practice that includes transgender patients.
Judge Meachum said Mooney would have faced either criminal liability for not reporting child abuse or civil liability for not treating patients “in accordance with professional standards and loss of licensure for failing to follow her professional ethics.”
The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal brought the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs.
President Joe Biden chimed in on Abbott’s directives, calling them “a cynical and dangerous campaign targeting transgender children and their parents.”
Judge Meachum will decide whether Abbott’s directive would be blocked statewide on March 11. Currently, the ruling applies only to the anonymous parents in the lawsuit.
The case is Jane Doe v. Abbott, No. D-1-GN-22-000977 in the District Court of Travis County.