Texas Supreme Court Rules State Can Resume Child Abuse Investigations Against Parents Who Provide Children with Transgender Medical Care

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State officials are free to resume child abuse investigations against parents who provide adolescents with gender-affirming medical care under a ruling released Friday by the Texas Supreme Court.

The ruling struck down a statewide injunction, issued by an Austin judge in March, that halted child abuse investigations based on providing medical treatment for gender dysphoria in minors.

The ruling allowed only a portion of the injunction to remain in force — the part that blocked abuse investigations into the family that sued to halt a policy they said violated their fundamental right to care for their children.

Lower courts did not have the authority to halt investigations into families who were not a party to the lawsuit, the Supreme Court said.

Friday’s ruling was limited to enforcing the injunction. The merits of the case — whether state-ordered child abuse investigations into transgender care violate the rights of families — remains before the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals. The first legal brief there is due May 25.

But the Texas Supreme Court also clarified that Gov. Greg Abbott — who in February directed the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of “gender-transitioning procedures” as child abuse — did not have the power to require the agency to do such investigations.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services quickly announced in February that it would follow Abbott’s directive — an action that the agency was not legally required to take, Friday’s ruling said.

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SOURCE: The Austin American-Statesman, Chuck Lindell