Arizona; Phoenix — The largest children's hospital in the United States, Texas Children's Hospital, has halted gender-affirming services for transgender adolescents in reaction to Gov. Greg Abbott's directive to investigate parents who provide it to their children as child abuse.
The Houston hospital recently announced that it will be temporarily halting operations.
“The mission of Texas Children’s Hospital is to create a healthier future for all children, including transgender children, within the bounds of the law,” the hospital said in a statement. “After assessing the Attorney General’s and Governor’s actions, Texas Children’s Hospital paused hormone-related prescription therapies for gender-affirming services. This step was taken to safeguard our healthcare professionals and impacted families from potential criminal legal ramifications.”
Neither Abbott's command, which came in the form of a letter citing the opinion of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, nor Paxton's opinion is legally binding. As a result, despite the fact that Paxton and Abbott have stated that gender-affirming therapy constituted child abuse under Texas law, there is currently no statute prohibiting the provision of trans healthcare in Texas.
Top legal organizations have argued that Abbott and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) have overstepped their authority by issuing this directive, which "violates both state administrative processes and the constitutional rights of trans Texans," according to Lambda Legal attorney Currey Cook.
A few days after Abbott published his open letter, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (the national organization as well as the Texas branch) filed suit against Abbott and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
According to Cook, Texas appealed the injunction within hours of it being given by a Texas state judge on Wednesday, temporarily blocking the decision and issuing a restraining order on behalf of the family.
“Texas Children's Hospital's suspension of services for transgender children is a major setback for transgender children in the state, despite a temporary restraining order and a temporary restraining order,” Cook said.