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A Texas judge has blocked the state from investigating parents who sought gender-confirming care for transgender children for child abuse.
The temporary injunction issued by District Judge Amy Clark Meachum means that a recent directive implemented by Governor Greg Abbott – which would have compelled the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the provision of gender-confirming care for young people as child abuse cases – can now not be implemented, though the ruling is likely to be challenged.
It comes after a pair of state-employed parents sued the state for placing them under investigation for obtaining such care for their trans daughter, following a non-binding opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last month that declared the prescription of puberty blockers and some gender-confirming procedures to be 'child abuse' under state law.
Following that decision, Abbott issued a directive ordering public bodies 'to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas'.
Judge Meachum ruled that such investigations should not be allowed to take place as Abbott's directive likely exceeded his authority as governor, and 'was given the effect of new law or a new agency rule despite no new legislation, regulation, or even stated agency policy'.
Meachum's ruling came after a day-long hearing that featured testimony from the mother who was placed under investigation. Her lawyer said that Abbott's directive had 'terrorised' her and other families in similar situations.
'The person who testified today, who was the subject of an investigation based solely on the fact that she has a transgender daughter, testified that her daughter was afraid of being taken away from her parents and out of her home,' Lambda Legal Litigation Director Camilla Taylor said, per NPR.
'This was absolutely inexcusable, and we're very glad that the court took action to put a stop to it immediately.'
The state's attorney general has vowed to take the case to the Texas Supreme Court, telling The Mark Davis Show: 'I have no doubt that the governor has the authority to do what he's doing.'
Following the ruling, Transgender Education Network of Texas Executive Director Emmett Schelling said: 'We clearly have a lot of issues within the system that we need to address. Attacking the parents of trans kids is not one. Ripping families apart is not one.'
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