Texas Judge Temporarily Blocks Investigation Into Family With Trans Daughter

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The ACLU of Texas celebrated the move but vowed to continue the fight against Gov. Greg Abbott's directive on behalf of transgender kids statewide.

A Texas judge has temporarily halted the investigation of a family over their transgender teen’s gender-affirming treatments, saying such an investigation is a violation of their constitutional rights, according to court documents. Under the temporary order, the state, including the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), are prohibited from investigating the family, who in their lawsuit were referred to only as Jane, John and Mary Doe.

The 16-year-old’s parents were among the first to be investigated following Gov. Gregg Abbott’s directive issued last week that said instances where teens received gender-affirming medical care could be investigated for child abuse.

The temporary restraining order was granted by Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum the day after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family in order to block the request for medical records in the case, challenge the legitimacy of the investigation as well as question the ability of the governor to change the definition of child abuse. 

Since the investigation was launched, the teen’s mom, who works for DFPS, has been placed on administrative leave from her job, according to court documents. "Jane, John and Mary Doe face the imminent and ongoing depravation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation," the court document read. 

In a declaration filed with the suit, Jane, Mary’s mother, noted: "We are terrified for Mary’s health and well-being, and for our family. I feel betrayed by my state and the agency for whom I work. Not providing Mary with the medically necessary health care that she needs is not an option for us."

The DFPS, one of few agencies that have agreed to comply with the directive, had allegedly requested access to the child’s medical records after the family was told they were under investigation by a Child Protective Services officer, according to the lawsuit. The child’s mother, who was considered an "exemplary" employee and “commended by her supervisors,” declined to provide the records, according to the lawsuit. 

Meachum wrote that the family will suffer "irreparable injury" unless the investigation is halted. 

Dr. Megan Mooney, a Houston-based clinical psychologist named as a plaintiff in ACLU’s filing, is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit. 

Mooney, who has transgender patients and often works closely with LGBTQ+ youth, said in the filing that she "faces civil suit by patients," "loss of licensure," and "immediate criminal prosecution" under Abbott’s new directive, which requires "all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children" to report instances of gender affirming treatment, according to the court document.

The ACLU of Texas celebrated the court's Wednesday decision, however, vowed to fight on.

"We appreciate the relief granted to our clients but will not stop fighting to end this abuse of power. Texas is threatening the lives of transgender youth and the rights of all of us," the agency said in a statement.

Abbott's directive will be examined at a March 11 hearing, and there it may be determined whether it will be blocked on a statewide level.

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