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Texas Supreme Court allows investigation into child molestation in families of transgender teens to continue

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The Texas Child Protection Agency is still barred from investigating the family of a transgender teen who sued the state in March, but is free to investigate other families providing gender-affirming care after the Texas Supreme Court on Friday lifted a statewide injunction Has.

The video above is from an earlier report when Texas Children’s Hospital stopped hormone-related therapies for transgender children.

Although it overturned the injunction on procedural grounds, the Supreme Court raised questions as to why the Department of Family and Protection Services opened the investigation in the first place. The court confirmed in Friday’s decision that neither Attorney General Ken Paxton nor Gov. Greg Abbott had any reason to direct the agency’s actions.

In February, Paxton released a non-binding legal opinion that equated certain medical treatments and procedures for transgender teenagers with child abuse. Abbott, citing that opinion, then sent a letter to DFPS directing the agency to investigate parents providing gender-affirming care to their transgender children.

In a response to the order, DFPS said it would “follow Texas law,” as set out in Paxton’s opinion: “[i]In accordance with Governor Abbott’s instructions.” The agency then launched at least nine investigations into parents of transgender children.

“The governor and attorney general certainly had the right to voice their legal and political views on the matter, but DFPS was not legally required to follow them,” Friday’s decision said. “However, DFPS’ press release indicates that DFPS may have considered itself bound by either the governor’s letter, the attorney general’s opinion, or both. Again, nothing before this court supports the notion that DFPS is so bound.”

While the ruling notes the myriad “informal mechanisms” through which elected officials can influence a government agency, “ultimately, one department or another has the final say.”

RELATED: ACLU sues Texas for implementing ‘lawless and dangerous new policies’ towards transgender children

In this case, the ruling said, the DFPS is responsible for deciding whether these investigations are in compliance with applicable state regulations – and must now decide whether to continue these investigations and allow new investigations to be opened.

DFPS officials have told The Texas Tribune that the agency’s leadership has acknowledged that these investigations do not meet current child abuse requirements and that guidelines must be created to conform with the governor’s instructions.

In March, a district judge issued an injunction barring the state from pursuing those investigations or opening new ones. Paxton appealed this decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which reinstated the statewide injunction.

He then petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to review that appeal. In Friday’s decision, the High Court agreed with Paxton that the Court of Appeal went too far – while the Court of Appeal can reinstate an injunction if it “preserves the rights of the parties”, it cannot reinstate an injunction of any kind introduce.

In this case, the judges ruled, the “parties” were the family that originally sued the state — not all parents of all transgender children.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that educates and collaborates with Texans on public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

https://abc13.com/texas-supreme-court-transgender-teenagers-gender-affirming-care-ken-paxton/11845107/ Texas Supreme Court allows investigation into child molestation in families of transgender teens to continue

Dais Johnston

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