A Texas judge on Friday night temporarily blocked Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) order to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender youth as “child abuse,” following a ruling earlier this month that barred the state from investigating the parents of a transgender teen.
On Friday night, Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Travis County ruled that Abbott’s order is “beyond the scope of his authority and unconstitutional.” In the order, Meachum said the statewide injunction will remain in effect until “this court, and potentially the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Texas” hear the case.
Meachum also ruled that Abbott’s order had the effect of a new law or agency rule “despite no new legislation, regulation or even stated agency policy.”
Additionally, Meachum signaled that there is a “substantial likelihood” that the parents of a transgender teen who sued the governor would likely succeed at trial, which is scheduled for July.
Shortly after Meachum issued her ruling, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton (R) claimed in a tweet that an appeal is on file.
The latest blow to Abbott’s abrupt directive against care for trans youth comes after Meachum halted the state from investigating the parents of a transgender teen earlier this month, a day after they sued the governor over his order. One of the parents who sued Abbott works for the state agency carrying out the governor’s order.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit on behalf of an employee of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), who 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.
Meachum’s ruling at the time, 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.
Last month, Abbott directed DFPS — which oversees chid abuse cases, among other things — to conduct “prompt and thorough” investigations into gender-affirming medical care for minors.
Abbott’s directive follows the release of Paxton’s non-binding opinion, which characterized certain gender-affirming treatments for minors as a form of “child abuse” under state law.
The Texas governor parroted Paxton’s “opinion” language in his directive issued last month, calling some forms of gender-affirming care and surgeries “abusive procedures.”
In his directive, Abbott threatened licensed professionals who come into contact with transgender children with “criminal penalties for failure to report” on gender-affirming care. Additionally, the governor’s order called for DFPS and other state agencies to investigate parents who permit their transgender children to undergo gender-affirming procedures.
But some local officials swiftly pushed back at Abbott’s directive. Last month, a group of Democratic district attorneys in five of the largest counties in Texas announced that they will not comply with the governor’s directive.
Read Meachum’s latest ruling below: