Transgender Children Investigations Can’t Be Ordered by Governor

The Texas Supreme Court concluded on Friday that “neither Governor Greg Abbott nor the state’s attorney general” have the jurisdiction to launch child abuse investigations against families that give transgender children with particular medical care.

The state could not probe the family of a 16-year-old transgender teenager at the core of the case while the family’s complaint was unresolved in lower courts, according to the highest court’s decision.

The court did not go so far as to put a blanket prohibition on all such investigations, instead stating that it was up to the Department of Family and Protective Services to decide whether or not to conduct them (DFPS).

“The Governor and the Attorney General were certainly well within their rights to state their legal and policy views on this topic, but DFPS was not compelled by law to follow them,” the court wrote in its ruling.

In an emailed response, the Department of Family and Protective Services stated it was examining the decision and had no further comment.

Texas, along with dozens of states where conservative legislators have attempted to prohibit the supply of medical therapies that aid young people in transitioning away from the gender assigned to them at birth. Republicans have been accused by opponents of such plans of using gender identity as a political wedge issue.

The Texas Supreme Court stated in its conclusion that DFPS officials appeared to believe they were bound by the Republican governor’s or attorney general’s positions on the topic based on press releases made by the agency, but that “nothing before this Court supports the concept that DFPS is so bound.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton described the decision as a triumph because it did not result in a blanket ban.

The verdict was hailed as a “victory for our clients and the rule of law” by the ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal, both of which represent the family of transgender children under inquiry.

The youngster, known only as “Mary Doe, a juvenile” in the ACLU and Lambda lawsuits, has been on hormone treatment and puberty-delaying drugs.

According to the complaint, no other state considers gender-affirming medical therapy to be child abuse. Gender-affirming treatment saves lives by lowering the risk of depression and suicide, according to conventional medical and mental health specialists.

According to the DFPS, Abbott’s stance has resulted in the opening of at least nine child welfare investigations.

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