Legal expert hopes court ‘comes to their rescue’ for families caught in Texas transgender investigations

At least nine families are under investigation for alleged child abuse, based on a non-binding legal opinion from the state attorney general.

By Kristen Cabrera & Caroline CovingtonMarch 11, 2022 6:55 am, , , ,

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to state child protective services to investigate families helping their transgender children get gender-affirming health care is being challenged in state court.

Late last month, Abbott ordered CPS to investigate families, empowered by a non-binding legal decision from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that described gender-affirming care as “child abuse.” At least nine Texas families are currently under investigation.

The Texas Medical Association and other medical groups support evidence-based care for children with gender dysphoria.

To learn more about how this legal battle might play out, Texas Standard spoke with Linda McClain, law professor at Boston University specializing in family and gender law.

Listen to the interview with McClain in the audio player above or read the highlights below:

– McClain says Abbott’s directive to investigate families for alleged child abuse is an overreach of his authority. The Texas Legislature did not pass a measure that would have deemed gender-affirming care for children as child abuse. So Abbott is using a recent, non-binding legal opinion from the state attorney general as the basis for his directive.

– McClain says the investigations impede parental liberty, which she says is a “fundamental” right protected under the state and U.S. Constitutions. Medical experts support evidence-based treatment for youth gender dysphoria, and McClain says Abbott’s directive would prevent parents from helping their children get the help they need.

– She hopes the judge in Friday’s hearing issues an injunction to stop the investigations. Right now, state child protective services can investigate parents and health care professionals who are helping a child get gender-affirming care.

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