AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several legal groups announced Thursday that they’re planning to file a lawsuit over a Texas bill that will ban transgender minors from getting gender-related healthcare.
Senate Bill 14 passed the Senate with a 19-12 vote Wednesday, sending the bill to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.
LGBTQ+ legal advocate groups Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and Transgender Law Center said in a press release they’re pledging to file a lawsuit against the “sweeping” legislation. The groups said the bill bans transgender youth from accessing “medically necessary care.”
“[The bill] bans the only evidence-based care for gender dysphoria for transgender people under 18 and aims to strip doctors of their medical licenses for providing their patients with the care they know to be medically necessary,” the release said in part. “Texas lawmakers have ignored the warnings of transgender youth, their families, and the medical establishment about the harms of this legislation.”
In previous reporting by KXAN, Matt Sharp, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said states are perfectly entitled to enact laws similar to SB 14. ADF is co-counsel on lawsuits in states like Alabama and Arkansas.
“The states have the authority to regulate doctors and say ‘we think these are procedures that are harmful, that there’s poor science backing up their efficacy,'” Sharp said previously. “We have a duty as the state to protect minors from this and to pass legislation furthering those goals.”
Before the legislation passed, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation into Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin to “uncover whether ‘gender transitioning’ procedures were unlawfully performed on minor children.”
A little over a week later, physicians at Dell Children’s Adolescent Medicine clinic “departed,” leaving questions about the care of some children unanswered for their parents.
Ascension Seton, which runs Dell Children’s, released a statement saying in part, “While the physicians who previously staffed the clinic will be departing, the clinic remains open and supported by other physicians within Dell Children’s Medical Group.”
KXAN asked for further clarification about the physicians’ “departure,” as well as reasons for the change.
According to the release from the legal groups, similar restrictions in other states, like Alabama and Arkansas, have been enjoined by federal courts. The release also said legal advocates have filed challenges in federal court to bans enacted in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Montana.
A state court judge in Missouri also recently temporarily blocked enforcement of the Missouri attorney general’s emergency order restricting transgender healthcare, the Associated Press reported.
The LGBTQ+ legal advocacy groups issued a joint statement:
We will be filing a lawsuit to protect transgender youth in Texas from being stripped of access to healthcare that keeps them healthy and alive. Coming on top of the effort last year to classify providing medically necessary and scientifically proven care to transgender youth as child abuse which threatened to tear Texas families with transgender children apart, an effort that is currently blocked in state court, Texas lawmakers have seen fit to double down, creating untold harm on Texas families.
They are hellbent on joining the growing roster of states determined to jeopardize the health and lives of transgender youth, in direct opposition to the overwhelming body of scientific and medical evidence supporting this care as appropriate and necessary. Transgender youth in Texas deserve the support and care necessary to give them the same chance to thrive as their peers. Medically necessary health care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, and live authentically as themselves. We will defend the rights of transgender youth in court, just as we have done in other states engaging in this anti-science and discriminatory fear-mongering.”Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and Transgender Law Center