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Texas Supreme Court votes to allow trans child abuse investigations

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

We're going to stay in Texas, where the state Supreme Court has ruled that Child Protective Services can again investigate parents who provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children. The court overturned a statewide injunction issued by a state district court judge that had blocked such investigations. From Dallas, NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The Texas Supreme Court's ruling had elements of satisfaction for both sides in the state's effort against families with transgender children. On the one hand, it allows Texas to launch more child abuse investigations against parents who have transgender children who are being treated with hormone therapy and puberty blockers. On the other hand, it left in place an injunction suspending the state's investigation into one family that has sued Texas. Karen Loewy is the senior counsel with Lambda Legal, which is representing that family.

KAREN LOEWY: And it found, in leaving the injunction in place, that there was nothing wrong with the findings below - that there was irreparable harm from allowing investigations to happen based solely on the provision of gender-affirming care.

GOODWYN: But the court's ruling that the state's Child Protective Services could continue to investigate all other Texas families who are giving their transgender children medically approved treatment has left those families vulnerable to potentially losing their children. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said he took the case to the Texas Supreme Court to protect Texas children.

Amber Briggle is a business owner in the Dallas area with a 14-year-old transgender child. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has already been out to their house to investigate them.

AMBER BRIGGLE: I think people need to understand how terrifying it is to be a good and loving parent to your children and provide them their every need and to be accused by Governor Abbott of being a child abuser and then having the state come in and interrogate your children individually. It's terrifying. This order doesn't go far enough. Like, my family is now vulnerable, and we're shook.

GOODWYN: The Texas Supreme Court granted the state permission to investigate families with transgender children, but it also ruled the state needs the court's permission to take further action based on that investigation.

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Wade Goodwyn is an NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.