AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling this morning that upholds part of an appeals court order preventing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent transgender children with medically necessary health care.
In its decision, the court emphasized that neither Attorney General Paxton nor Governor Abbott has the power or authority to direct DFPS to investigate the provision of medically necessary lifesaving health care for transgender youth as child abuse. But the court limited the order blocking all investigations to the specific plaintiffs who filed suit.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, and Lambda Legal issued the following joint statement:
“Today’s decision is a win for our clients and the rule of law. The Texas Supreme Court made clear that the attorney general and governor do not have the authority to order DFPS to take any action against families that support their children by providing them with the highest standards of medical care. The court rejected the attorney general’s arguments that our lawsuit should be dismissed and affirmed that DFPS is not required to follow the governor’s directive or the attorney general’s non-binding opinion.
“Though the court limited its order to the Doe family and Dr. Mooney, it reaffirmed that Texas law has not changed and no mandatory reporter or DFPS employee is required to take any action based on the governor’s directive and attorney general opinion. By upholding the injunction, the court left in place the lower court’s decision that investigations based solely on the provision of medically necessary health care cause irreparable harm. It would be unconscionable for DFPS to continue these lawless investigations while this lawsuit continues, and we will not stop fighting to protect the safety and lives of transgender youth here in Texas.”
The district court previously determined that the governor and DFPS’s directives targeting families of transgender youth were issued without proper authority, in violation of the Texas Administrative Procedure Act, the separation of powers requirements of the Texas Constitution, and the constitutional rights of transgender youth and their parents. Anyone who is affected by these orders can find legal, mental health, and other resources at txtranskids.org or the Lambda Legal help desk.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Baker Botts LLP.