By Daniel Trotta
(Reuters) – A group representing 600 Texas families and backed by the American Civil Liberties Union sued Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday to stop state officials from treating transgender healthcare for minors as a form of child abuse.
In February, the Texas governor ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services to open child abuse investigations of families that provide minors with transgender care such as estrogen or testosterone treatments or hormone blockers that delay the onset of puberty.
The measure was part of a wave of initiatives by Republican governors and legislators affecting transgender rights across the country, with some state laws banning trans girls from participating in female sports and others targeting access to healthcare.
The governor’s press office did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit. The Department of Family and Protective Services, which is named as a defendant along with Commissioner Jaime Masters, said it could not respond to specific investigations or comment on litigation.
In a previous lawsuit on the matter, the Texas Supreme Court found in a partial ruling that the governor could not direct the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate families for providing medically necessary transgender healthcare, but it limited the protection to the specific plaintiffs. The wider case is pending.
In this case, the plaintiffs are three named Texas families plus 600 more who are members of the Texas chapter of PFLAG, a national network that supports transgender and other queer youth.
Their suit, filed in Travis County District Court, asks the court to block state child abuse investigations over transgender care.
Healthcare providers consider such treatments necessary for many teens who identify as transgender, providing them support until they are old enough to consider more permanent hormone therapies or surgery.
Republican politicians have argued their campaign aims to protect kids from irreversible procedures they may later regret.