Texas sues to avoid losing federal funds for investigations into families of trans children

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Texas fears losing more than $1 billion in federal funding to the government. Greg Abbott‘s directive requiring medical professionals to report transgender children in health care who assert their gender as potential abuse.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton amended an existing lawsuit suing the Biden administration on Wednesday, attempting to overturn guidelines issued by U.S. Health and Human Services on March 2 that restrict a person’s ability to receive medical care only on the based on her birth-assigned sex or gender identity is likely a violation of the Affordable Care Act for Federally Funded Entities. These federal guidelines came in response to Abbott’s directive issued late last month to treat certain medical treatments for trans children as possible crimes to be investigated by the Department of Family and Counseling Services. protection.

Texas sues to avoid losing federal funds for investigations into families of trans childrenwas first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that educates — and engages with — Texans about public policy, politics, government and issues in the world. statewide.

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Federal guidelines stated that health care providers were not required to disclose private patient information regarding gender-affirming care and that it was illegal to withhold health care based on identity. of gender.

Paxton, in the lawsuit, said the advice is based on “a misunderstanding of gender discrimination.” The lawsuit says Texas does not aim to deny health care based on gender identity. Instead, the state argues that its investigations are completely gender-blind, excluding all children from “unnecessary medical interventions.”

In 2020, $1.36 billion in federal funds went to Texas Department of State Health Services, Paxton said in the lawsuit. More than $26 billion went to the state Health and Human Services Commission.

Before Abbott issued his directive Essentially equating gender-affirming care with child abuse, Paxton published a non-binding legal opinion stating that health treatments such as puberty blockers, prescription drugs whose effects are fully reversible, also constitute child abuse. These statements drew heavy criticism from the White House, doctors, lawmakers and advocacy organizations.

So far, the state has opened five investigations into parents of trans children since Abbott issued its directive on Feb. 22. However, there could be more cases as the state declined to disclose active investigations in ongoing litigation.

Paxton tried to block a ruling temporarily blocking the state from investigating the family of a trans child. But a Texas appeals court dismissed it on Wednesday. On Friday, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal will ask a lower court judge to halt state investigations against parents who seek gender-reaffirming care for their children.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Grandstand at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/03/09/texas-trans-children-biden-sues-investigations/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom that informs and engages Texans about politics and state politics. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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