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Texas Supreme Court challenges Governor Abbott’s power to order investigations into parents of transgender children, but allows abuse investigations to continue

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during the Houston Region Business Coalition monthly meeting on October 27, 2021 in Houston, Texas.Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

  • The Texas Supreme Court overturned an injunction that ordered the state to investigate the use of gender-affirming care for transgender children.

  • Still, the court found that Governor Greg Abbott lacked the authority to order the investigations.

  • Abbott ordered the state’s Family Services agency to conduct investigations in February.

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court overturned an injunction barring the state from investigating the use of gender-affirming care for transgender children as child abuse — even though it found that the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, did not have the authority to order the investigations in the first place.

The court found that neither Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton nor Governor Greg Abbott could order the Department of Family and State Protective Services to investigate gender transition proceedings.

However, the Republican judges still allowed the investigations to move forward by overturning a lower court decision.

In its decision, the Texas high court said, “Just as the governor has no power to issue a binding ‘directive’ to the DFPS, the appeals court has no power to grant a remedy. statewide to non-parties”.

The court continued, “The Governor and Attorney General were certainly within their rights to express their legal and policy opinions on this subject, but DFPS was not required by law to follow them.”

In February, Abbott, a Republican, ordered the state’s Family Services Agency to investigate parents who authorize gender-affirming care for transgender children.

The move came after Paxton, also a Republican, issued an official notice stating that providing gender-affirming medical treatments like puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery to young people is ‘child abuse’ in under state law.

In a letter to the state’s Family Services Agency, Abbott cited Paxton’s opinion, saying “a number of so-called ‘sex reassignment’ procedures constitute child abuse. under applicable Texas law”.

Abbott noted in the letter that licensed professionals like doctors, nurses and teachers may face criminal penalties “for failing to report such child abuse.”

A Texas appeals court later temporarily barred the state from investigating parents of transgender children.

“The appeals court abused its discretion by using Rule 29.3 to issue a statewide order,” the Texas Supreme Court said in its decision Friday.

Following Abbott’s order, the family of a 16-year-old transgender girl who was under state investigation filed a lawsuit against Texas.

“Today’s decision is a victory for our clients and the rule of law,” the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal, which represents the family, said Friday.

“The Texas Supreme Court has made it clear that the Attorney General and Governor do not have the authority to order DFPS to take action against families who support their children by providing the highest standards of medical care. “

Although the Texas Supreme Court ruled that state investigations into the use of gender-affirming care for transgender children could continue, it suspended the state’s investigation into the youngster’s family. 16 years old.

Organizations representing the family said: “The court rejected the Attorney General’s arguments that our lawsuit should be dismissed and said the DFPS was not bound to follow the Governor’s directive or the non-binding opinion. of the Attorney General.”

“Although the court limited its order to the [plaintiffs]he reaffirmed that Texas law has not changed and that no mandatory reporter or DFPS employee is obligated to take action based on the Governor’s directive and the Attorney General’s opinion,” they said. they stated.

Paxton also considered the decision a victory.

“I just got a win for families against the gender ideology of doctors, big pharma, clinics trying to ‘trans’ confused, innocent kids,” Paxton said in a tweet. “SCOTX investigations have given the green light to lower Democratic courts that have frozen children ‘Transing’ through surgery/drugs is abuse and I will do everything I can to stop it.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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