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Texas once again temporarily blocked from investigating gender-affirming care as child abuse

It's the latest development after parents were investigated by child welfare workers for letting their transgender teenager access gender-affirming health care.

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A Texas appeals court on Monday reinstated a temporary injunction blocking Texas from investigating parents for child abuse if they allow their transgender children to receive gender-affirming care.

The video above is from previous reporting.

The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals issued the order as part of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal on behalf of the parents of a transgender teenager who were being investigated by child welfare workers.

“Having reviewed the record, we conclude that reinstating the temporary injunction is necessary to maintain the status quo and preserve the rights of all parties,” three appellate justices wrote.

RELATED: Texas health providers are suspending gender-affirming care for teens in response to GOP efforts

Last month, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a nonbinding legal opinion arguing that some gender-affirming care for minors could be considered child abuse. Four days after the opinion published, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents facilitating gender-affirming care for their kids.

While most gender-affirming care focuses on “social transition” — allowing a child to express their gender how they’d like — some transgender children take puberty blockers, a completely reversible medical treatment that’s prescribed for a wide range of situations beyond transition. Paxton and Abbott also cited concerns over gender-affirming surgeries that are rarely, if ever, used on children.

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued the temporary injunction March 11 after the ACLU and Lambda Legal sued.

RELATED: Court upholds order stopping 'child abuse' investigation into Texas trans teen’s family

The same night Meachum’s injunction was issued, Paxton filed an appeal and claimed he froze the injunction, allowing the state to continue investigations. However, experts said the appeal fell into a complicated legal area, and lawyers had challenged such automatic stays before, claiming the state should not be able to overturn an injunction simply by filing an appeal.

With Monday’s order, the injunction for now will continue to block the ongoing — and any new — investigations into Texans accused of child abuse based only on the allegation that they provided gender-affirming medical care.


This story comes from our KHOU 11 News partners at The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans - and engages with them - about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues.

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