Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Travis County Texas ruled on Friday that Governor Abbott’s orders to investigate parents of transgender children is unconstitutional. Nothing was said about parents of children that identify as either male or female according to how they were born. She said that it is likely that a 16-year-old transgender girl’s parents will win in a trial on the merits that the governor’s order was unconstitutional.
The Texas ruling came after a legal challenge by the parents of a 16-year-old transgender girl whose family was among the first to be investigated by the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services under Governor Abbott’s order. Judge Meachum said the investigations violate the “separation of powers by impermissibly encroaching into the legislative domain”.
Governor Abbott’s order will not be enforced. The trial is set for July.
“The judge understood loud and clear the harms being experienced by families like Jane Doe’s. She heard also loud and clear that this was an unauthorized action by the governor, unilaterally changing the way that child abuse is interpreted,” a senior counsel at Lambda, Karen Loewy who represented the plaintiffs along with the American Civil Liberties Union stated.
Randa Mulanax, a child protection supervisor testified that the agency’s investigators were not given the freedom to determine that a given report involving a transgender child was likely not in fact a case of child abuse, — known as ‘priority none’ status, and that investigators were not able to close the cases”.
“I’ve been told about that directly. You cannot priority-none these cases,” Mulanax who is resigning from the department stated.
Governor Abbott’s order was intended to place medical providers and families of transgender children accountable for controversial life altering medical decisions that cannot be reversed if a child later changes their mind about their identity.
Dr. Megan Mooney, who is also a plaintiff in the case and a licensed psychologist whose clients include transgender children, testified, “There has been outright panic. It puts medical professionals I work with in a horrible position”.
More than 60 major businesses including Johnson & Johnson, Google and Levi Strauss & Co, and other protested the governor’s new orders. The Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston restricted care for transgender children.
Ms. Doe, wearing a wig and glasses made a secretive testimony that will not be shown stating that “she was terrified for her daughter’s health and well-being, and that she felt betrayed by the state and the agency for whom she works”.
Randa Mulanax, who is resigning as a child protection supervisor testified gave further testimony stating that for the first time ever she had been instructed on February 22 not to put information about cases in writing through email or text.
“Have you ever been told not to put information on cases in writing?” asked Brian Klosterboer, an A.C.L.U. lawyer.
“No,” Mulanax stated.
“What did you make of the instruction to not put anything in writing?”
“It was very unethical,” Mulanax said.
Courtney Corbello asked whether any major steps had been taken as a result of the investigations into parents of transgender children and wanted to know if any children had been taken away from their parents.
“To my knowledge, no,” Ms. Mulanax responded.
Had a child been taken off medication prescribed by a doctor?
“I’m not aware of that,” she said.
The state did not present witnesses or evidence of its own during the hearing.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has been in trouble for years over the way it treats foster and adopted children and their biological and foster and adoptive parents from all walks of life and is constantly charging taxpayers for the lawsuits that have to be settled.
Just the day before, another judge, Judge Janis Jack found out that the Refuge Ranch in Bastrop Texas has been sex trafficking the very children it is supposed to be caring for. Governor Abbot started his own investigation into that matter also by ordering the Texas Rangers to arrests anyone caught trafficking children through the group home.
Minding Hearts is building advocacy and peer support groups in each state. The groups are created to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for those that might not otherwise be heard. We are here for encouragement, education, and support. We cannot give legal advice, but we can try and direct you in the right direction with your case. Links to legal services are listed with their states. Please share and let’s grow our groups. We are here to support families and develop resources that maintain family integrity. We look forward to your support. If you would rather become active by donating, then visit the donation page.