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Texas Judge Blocks State From Investigating Gender-Affirming Care For Transgender Youth As Child Abuse

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — In a March 11 hearing, a Texas judge issued an order temporarily barring the state from investigating gender-affirming care for transgender youth as child abuse.

The ruling comes the same day that dozens of major companies — including Apple, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Meta and Microsoft — criticized the Texas directive in a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News.

"The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies," read the ad, which used the headline "DISCRIMINATION IS BAD FOR BUSINESS."

Governor Greg Abbott ordered state agencies to investigate reported instances of kids undergoing gender-transitioning procedures -- calling it "abuse" and saying that it harms young children.

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum heard Friday from attorneys for the state and the parents of a 16-year-old girl who were being investigated by the Department of Family and Protective Services over such care.

After blocking that investigation last week, Meachum made the decision today to block similar investigations of other families. The parents sued over the investigation and Gov. Greg Abbott's directive.

The lawsuit marked the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott's directive and an earlier non-binding legal opinion by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton labeling certain gender-confirming treatments as "child abuse." DFPS said it has opened nine investigations since Abbott's directive and Paxton's opinion.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of the parents.

The groups also represent a clinical psychologist who has said the governor's directive is forcing her to choose between reporting clients to the state or losing her license and other penalties.

The governor's directive and Paxton's opinion go against the nation's largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions on transgender people filed in statehouses nationwide.

Meachum said in her order that because the directive "changed the status quo" for transgender youth in Texas, it impermissibly encroached on the legislature's powers.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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