ACLU files suit to block Texas directive authorizing state agency to investigate ‘trans’ surgery, treatment for children as child abuse

by Trinity Cardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News

The American Civil Liberties Union and LGBTQ+ civil rights group Lambda Legal are asking a Texas state court to block a directive that calls on licensed professionals in the state to report instances of “gender-affirming medical treatment” for child abuse. The order issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R ) gives the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) the authority to investigate parents for child abuse if they seek medical interventions like gender reassignment surgeries and hormone blockers for trans children.  

Abbott’s directive to the TDFPS states that medical gender-affirming interventions on children “constitute child abuse under existing Texas law.” He adds that the DFPS has a responsibility to protect children from abuse and calls on the agency to investigate “any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas.”

In a Feb. 18 formal opinion, Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that certain invasive gender reassignment surgeries and other treatment procedures “deprive the child of the fundamental right to procreate, which supports a finding of child abuse under the Family Code.”

“Because children are legally incompetent to consent to sterilization, procedures and treatments that result in a child’s sterilization are unauthorized and infringe on the child’s fundamental right to procreate,” the opinion continued.

The ACLU lawsuit, however, argues that Abbott issued the order without proper authority in violation of a Texas law and the constitutional rights of transgender children and their parents. Abbott, The Texas DFPS and its commissioner, Jaime Masters, are included in the suit. 

“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 released Tuesday, calling the directive an “attack” on trans children whom he says have a right to “medically necessary, lifesaving care.” 

Lambda Legal Senior counsel Paul Castillo said the directive is motivated by “cruelty,” calling it “a politically motivated misinformation campaign with no consideration of medical science and seem determined to criminalize parents seeking to care and provide for their kids, and medical professionals abiding by accepted standards of care for transgender youth.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a DFPS employee who claims she was placed on leave “because she has a transgender daughter” hours after she asked a superior to explain how the new measure would affect agency policy. According to the complaint, an investigator subsequently showed up at her home to interview her and other family members after she was advised that she was being investigated per the order.

Abbott has received intense push-back for the directive, including condemnation from the Texas business community, according to an Axios report. His claims that gender-affirming medical interventions in children can have significant deleterious effects on their health and well-being, however, is supported by some members of the medical community.

According to a 2021 article published by the Edwin J. Feulner Institute, progressive gender ideology has resulted in a significant increase in young people seeking treatment protocols that cause “serious and irreversible medical harms.”

“Gender ideology denies the commonsense, scientifically grounded truth that maleness and femaleness are biological realities independent of subjective feelings or desires,” writes Melissa Moschella, PhD. “Instead, gender ideology holds that what makes someone a man or a woman depends entirely on one’s feelings or choices.” 

Moschella goes on to state that following through on these “feelings” with radical medical interventions can have devastating effects on young, developing bodies.

“The American College of Pediatricians reports that puberty blockers not only prevent the development of secondary sex characteristics, but also arrest bone growth, decrease bone accretion, prevent the sex-steroid dependent organization and maturation of the adolescent brain, and inhibit fertility by preventing the development of gonadal tissue and mature gametes for the duration of treatment,”  Moschella added.