Texas Sues Biden Administration Over Gender-Affirming Care Guidance
Author: Alex Cooper
Texas has amended a current lawsuit against the Biden administration following the administration’s guidance supporting transgender and nonbinary youth’s access to gender-affirming care, according to a news release from the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
On March 2, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the guidance as a direct response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to investigate parents of trans children who were seeking gender-affirming treatment for “child abuse.”
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra called Abbott’s directive “discriminatory and unconscionable” as well as “clearly dangerous to the health of transgender youth in Texas.” He added, “At HHS, we listen to medical experts and doctors, and they agree with us, that access to affirming care for transgender youth is essential and can be life-saving. HHS is committed to protecting young Americans who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and supporting their parents, caretakers, and families.”
The HHS guidance stated that health care providers do not need to disclose information related to a patient’s gender-affirming health care. It also noted that it was illegal for health providers to deny service based on a patient’s gender identity.
Refusing to follow the HHS guidance could result in the loss of federal funds.
The state’s Attorney General’s Office said it was suing over the administration’s position that doctors, medical providers, and other related medical professionals who report gender-affirming procedures as “child abuse” may violate federal law.
“The federal government does not have the authority to govern the medical profession and set family policies, including what may constitute child abuse in state family law courts,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in the news release. “It is time for the Biden Administration to quit forcing their political agenda. This is about the safety of children. It is time to put their well-being first.”
Abbott’s directive was based on a nonbinding opinion by Paxton that gender-affirming care was “child abuse.”
In the suit, Paxton says that the HHS guidance is based on an “erroneous interpretation of sex discrimination.” It further states that Texas does not seek to deny health care based on gender identity, according to The Texas Tribune. The suit says that its investigations are into preventing all children from undergoing “unnecessary medical interventions.”
Paxton’s amended complaint supplements an existing lawsuit against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over guidance issued by Commissioner Charlotte Burrows, allowing “exceptions from their generally applicable workplace policies on usage of bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers (collectively, ‘bathrooms’), dress codes, and pronoun usage, based on the subjective gender identities of their employees,” reports The Washington Blade.
The state has opened five investigations into parents of trans children since the governor made the order last month. The Tribune reports that number may be more since the state refused to reveal information about active investigations over pending litigation.
This week Paxton appealed a temporary block of the order for one family, but his appeal was rejected on Wednesday. Lawyers will ask a judge today to broaden the order for all families seeking gender-affirming care for their children.
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Alex Cooper