AUSTIN — Travis County Judge Amy Clark Mechum issued a temporary injunction Friday blocking the state from investigating families named in a lawsuit as well as those that belong to PFLAG, an LGBTQ advocacy group with more than 600 members in Texas.
Access to transgender youth health care was thrown into question in late February when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion stating that gender-affirming procedures for minors and the prescription of puberty blockers constitutes child abuse under Texas law.
Gov. Greg Abbott also directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate any parent or medical professional who provides a minor with gender-affirming health care. Soon after, investigations into Texas families began.
“It clearly appears to the court that unless Commissioner Masters and DFPS are immediately enjoined from enforcing the DFPS Rule operationalizing Governor Abbott’s directive and Attorney General Paxton’s opinion, members of plaintiff PFLAG, including the Voe, Roe, and Briggle families, will suffer probable, imminent, and irreparable injury in the interim,” court documents said. “Such injury, which cannot be remedied by an award of damages or other adequate remedy at law.”
Jamie Masters is commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
The move is the latest in a series of legal battles over Paxton’s opinion and Abbott’s order.
Previously, Mechum granted an injunction to halt all child abuse investigations of parents who seek and doctors who provide gender-affirming care to transgender adolescents. Paxton immediately appealed the decision.
The Texas Supreme Court eventually ruled to overturn the statewide injunction stating that the lower court abused its authority and does not have the ability to issue statewide relief to nonparties. It did, however, allow the injunction to remain in place for the family involved in the case, as they are a named party.
The court also ruled that Abbott had no grounds to issue the order to investigate targeted families.
Once overturned by the state’s highest court, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal brought another lawsuit seeking to protect all PFLAG members.
“Once again a Texas court has stepped in to say what we knew from the beginning: State leaders have no business interfering with life-saving care essential for transgender youth,” said Adri Pérez of ACLU of Texas. “We should trust doctors and every major medical association on how to support transgender youth. State leadership continues to attack parents for how they raise their kids — and all our plaintiffs are doing is providing unconditional love and support for children of all gender identities.”
Nicholas “Guilly” Guillory, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, said he is pleased the court understood the “magnitude and breadth of the continued harm” Abbott’s order would have on Texas families.
“Parents who love their transgender children and work with healthcare providers to support and affirm their well-being should be celebrated, rather than investigated as criminals as the state sought to do here,” Guillory said.
Abbott nor Paxton responded to requests for comment.