A Texas Supreme Court decision said neither the governor nor attorney general may order child abuse investigations over transgender treatments.
The May 13 decision by the state’s highest court said only the Department of Family and Protective Services could make that decision. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a February legal opinion saying certain medical procedures for transgender teens constituted child abuse. Governor Greg Abbott took the ball and ran with it. Citing Paxton’s opinion, he directed the DFPS to investigate parents who provided gender-affirming care to their children identifying themselves as transgender.
The DFPS opened at least nine investigations into parents of transgender children in response to Abbott’s order, according to a Texas Tribune report. The agency reportedly said it would “follow Texas law” as laid out in Paxton’s opinion, “[i]n accordance with Governor Abbott’s directive.”
A district judge granted an injunction in March, blocking the DFPS from continuing these investigations or opening new ones. Paxton appealed that decision to the Third Court of Appeals, which reinstated the statewide temporary injunction, the report noted. Paxton appealed to the state’s Supreme Court.
The high court ruling was a mixed bag. The court ruled that the DFPS has the right to conduct such investigations but they may not be directed to do so by other state officials. Further, the injunction issued for the original plaintiffs remains in place while their case progresses through the courts.
The DFPS is responsible for deciding whether these investigations align with current state regulations, the court opined. The agency will now have to decide whether to continue their current investigations and whether they should allow new ones to be opened.
Agency employees have reportedly said that agency leadership has acknowledged that these investigations do not meet the current requirements for child abuse and have said policy would need to be generated to match the governor’s directives.
A recent poll found that 90 percent of people who had an opinion on the topic believe, “Minors should be required to wait until they are legal adults” before they undergo “permanent gender alteration,” according to the Daily Wire report.
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