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Judge blocks Texas policy classifying trans healthcare as child abuse

A Texas judge on Wednesday issued a temporary ruling cracking down on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s new policy classifying gender-affirming care for transgender children as child abuse.

The decision follows a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed Tuesday on behalf of a transgender teen and her family who are among the first to face scrutiny under the new directive from Abbott. The teen’s mother, who works for the agency responsible for enforcing the new policy, was furloughed from her job and visited by investigators because she was seeking hormone treatments and puberty-blocking drugs for her girl.

Judge Amy Clark Meachum of the 201st Civil District Court in Travis County ruled on Wednesday that the family faced “imminent and continuing deprivation of their constitutional rights, potential loss of necessary medical care and stigma associated with the fact to be the subject of an unsubstantiated child abuse investigation. ”

This is in addition to the fact that the mother named in the lawsuit could lose her job with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

“We are terrified for [our daughter’s] health and well-being, and for our family. I feel betrayed by my condition and the agency I work for,” she wrote in a statement filed with the lawsuit.

The ACLU touted the decision as a partial victory, saying families not named in the lawsuit could still be investigated by the state.

“We appreciate the relief given to our clients, but this should never have happened and is unfathomably cruel,” ACLU of Texas attorney Brian Klosterboer said in a statement. “Families shouldn’t have to worry about being separated because they are providing the best possible health care for their children. The elected leaders and agencies of this state should not play politics with people’s lives. We will do everything in our power to end these abuses of power and ensure that young transgender people can receive medically recommended treatment. »

Meachum has scheduled a March 11 hearing to consider blocking the policy more broadly.

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