A Texas judge temporarily blocked the state from investigating the parents of a transgender teen, a day after they sued Gov. Greg Abbott (R) over his abrupt directive against care for trans youth in the state last week. One of the parents who sued Abbott works for the state agency carrying out the governor’s order.
The intervention was issued by District Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Austin, Texas in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Lambda Legal on Tuesday on behalf of an employee of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The staffer has a 16-year-old transgender daughter. The parent sued after an investigator from DFPS visited her to inquire about medical records related to her child.
In the ruling issued Wednesday night, Meachum wrote that the parents and the teen “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 ruling, however, stopped short of barring the state from looking into other reports about other transgender children in the state who are receiving similar gender-affirming care.
The judge set a March 11 hearing on whether to issue a broader order barring enforcement of Abbott’s directive to treat gender-affirming care for transgender youth as “child abuse.”
The unnamed employee of DFPS who sued Abbott earlier this week alleged in a complaint that she was put on administrative leave after seeking clarification on how the Texas governor’s new anti-trans directive might impact DFPS’ office policies.
According to the complaint, the employee alleged that a day after she was placed on leave by DFPS, she was informed her family would be investigated in accordance with Abbott’s directive to determine whether she and the child’s other parent had “committed abuse” by obtaining medical care for their transgender daughter. The DFPS employee said in the complaint that both she and the other parent of the transgender child refused to voluntarily hand records over to the agency when a DFPS Child Protective Services investigator visited the family.
The lawsuit brought by the DFPS employee was filed the same day as the Texas gubernatorial primary. Abbott is now set to face Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in the governor race later this year.
A day after the lawsuit was filed, President Biden took aim at Abbott’s directive for state agencies to investigate gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.
The President excoriated Abbott’s directive as “a cynical and dangerous campaign targeting transgender children and their parents” in a statement. Additionally, the President noted that the Department of Health and Human Services announced several actions “to keep transgender children in Texas and their families safe — putting the state of Texas on notice that their discriminatory actions put children’s lives at risk.”