Texas judge temporarily blocks investigations into parents of transgender kids

A Texas judge on Friday issued an injunction against enforcement of the governor’s order to investigate gender-affirming care as child abuse, handing opponents of the policy a temporary victory.

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum said that in issuing the Feb. 22 directive without a new state law or rule, Gov. Greg Abbott and officials’ actions “violate separation of powers by impermissibly encroaching into the legislative domain,” The Associated Press reported.

The state Legislature last year failed to pass a bill that would have made it a felony alongside physical and sexual abuse to provide gender-affirming care to minors.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which was among those who challenged the Feb. 22 directive, hailed Friday’s court ruling.

“The judge recognized the governor and DFPS’ actions for what they were — unauthorized and unconstitutional exercises of power that causes severe, immediate, and devastating harms to transgender youth and their families across Texas,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who in a non-binding opinion said providing gender-affirming medical care to minors was child abuse, immediately vowed to appeal the injunction.

Paxton has been supportive of a Feb. 22 letter from Abbott to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services directing the agency to investigate children receiving what he called “abusive gender-transitioning procedures.”

Meachum last week issued a restraining order preventing DFPS from investigating the family of a 16-year-old transgender child who was told they were under investigation. The lawsuit filed on behalf of the 16-year-old’s family said Abbott “circumvented the will of the legislature” by issuing the directive. It argued that the policy violated the constitutional rights of transgender children, their families and medical professionals.

“Their actions caused terror and anxiety among transgender youth and their families across the Lone Star State and singled out transgender youth and their families,” the lawsuit says.

Friday’s order from Meachum applies statewide.

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