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Judge rules Texas must stop child abuse investigations of gender-affirming care against members of LGBTQ advocacy group

By Andy Rose, CNN

A district judge in Austin has ordered that the state of Texas cannot pursue child abuse investigations against parents providing gender-affirming care to their children if those families are members of the advocacy group PFLAG.

The group is one of the plaintiffs against the state, challenging Gov. Greg Abbott’s order which states medical treatment of transgender minors — including puberty blockers and hormone therapy — should be investigated as child abuse.

“There is a substantial likelihood that Plaintiffs will prevail after a trial on the merits,” wrote Travis County District Judge Amy Clark Meachum, who had previously granted a similar injunction against investigations by the Department of Family and Protective Services of two individual families who had filed suit.

Friday’s order broadens the protection to include any Texas family that is a member of PFLAG.

“Today, families of transgender kids in Texas who are members of PFLAG National find shelter from Gov. Abbott’s unjust order,” Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National, said in a written statement.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.

The same judge issued an order earlier this year blocking state child abuse investigations regarding gender-affirming care for any minor statewide. However, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in May the order was too broad and should only apply to plaintiffs with legal action pending against the state.

Gender-affirming care is medically necessary, evidence-based care that uses multiple approaches to help a person transition from their assigned gender — the one that corresponds with the sex the person was designated at birth — to the gender by which they want to be known.

Major medical associations have agreed gender-affirming care is clinically appropriate for children and adults with gender dysphoria, which according to the American Psychiatric Association is psychological distress that may result when a person’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not align.

Friday’s ruling comes about two weeks after 16 current and former employees of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, along with the Texas State Employees Union, filed a friend of the court brief with the state’s Third District Court of Appeals. The brief urges the appeals court to affirm the lower court’s decision temporarily barring enforcement of the policy, despite the appeal brought by family services. The Court of Appeals has not yet set a date for oral arguments in the case.

The brief also says a string of departures has the agency on the “brink of collapse.”

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CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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