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Texas Faces Lawsuit Over Law Banning Medical Treatment for Transgender Adolescents

On July 12, 2023, a lawsuit was filed against the State of Texas, the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, the Texas Medical Board, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, challenging a recent law that bans the provision of necessary medical treatment to transgender adolescents in Texas.

The plaintiffs include several families with transgender children, medical professionals, and organizations such as PFLAG, Inc. and the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights, Inc. The lawsuit argues that the law, known as Senate Bill 14 (SB14), infringes on the rights of parents and medical professionals, and discriminates against transgender adolescents.

Gender dysphoria, a medical condition characterized by distress caused by a mismatch between a person’s gender identity and the sex they were assigned at birth, can have serious consequences if left untreated. In Texas, adolescents with gender dysphoria currently have access to medically necessary care and treatment, which allows them to live as their true selves.

Many parents of transgender children in Texas have worked with their children’s medical providers to ensure that their children receive the necessary course of care for their gender dysphoria. These parents have seen that affirming their children, including by helping them access the medical care their providers have deemed necessary and appropriate, has helped them flourish.

However, on June 2, 2023, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed SB14 into law, categorically banning the provision of necessary and often lifesaving medical treatment to transgender adolescents in Texas. The law passed despite opposition from medical experts and the families that stand to be severely negatively impacted. The law is set to take effect on September 1, 2023.

The lawsuit argues that the law violates the right to parental autonomy guaranteed by the Due Course of Law Clause of the Texas Constitution because it prevents Texas parents with transgender children suffering from gender dysphoria from accessing the medically necessary treatment that medical providers have recommended for their children.

The lawsuit seeks temporary and permanent injunctions to prevent the law from taking effect and causing immediate and irreparable harm. The case is currently pending in the District Court of Travis County, Texas.

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