ACLU Sues To Block Texas From Investigating Parents Of Trans Youth For Child Abuse

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal have joined forces to file a lawsuit seeking to block a statewide directive enacted by Gov. Greg Abbott’s ordering the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents and doctors who provide trans children with gender-affirming care.

Abbott’s order follows Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s nonbinding opinion last month that providing access to sex reassignment surgery, puberty blockers, testosterone and estrogen treatments all constitute child abuse.

“No family should have to fear being torn apart because they are supporting their trans child,” Adri Pérez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement.

Medical organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have condemned state government efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming care for minors, saying it dangerously interferes with necessary medical care.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of a DFPS employee called Jane Doe, who “works on the review of reports of abuse and neglect”; the woman’s husband, John Doe; and their 16-year-old transgender daughter, Mary Doe.

Abbott’s order, Paxton’s opinion and the investigation have “terrorized the Doe family and inflicted ongoing and irreparable harm,” their lawyers say.

The ACLU is also representing Houston-based psychologist Megan Mooney, who works with youth who have gender dysphoria. According to the complaint, Abbott’s directive has put Mooney in an “untenable position.”

Under Texas law, she is a mandatory reporter, which means she could lose her license and face civil and criminal penalties if she ignores Abbott’s directive. However, by following them, the ACLU of Texas says she “would be violating her professional standards of ethics and inflict serious harm and trauma on her clients.”

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg is among several Texas district attorneys defying the order. “I will not prosecute any parent, any facility, or anyone else for providing medically appropriate care to transgender children,” Ogg said, as reported by Texas Public Radio.