Texas is trampling parents’ rights in its investigations of trans kids
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Gov. Greg Abbott’s order isn’t just cruel — it also runs counter to basic legal principles
In recent months, politicians in many states have introduced measures that aim to disrupt the everyday lives of transgender Americans. But an executive directive issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in late February is far more intrusive than the rest. The order directs the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to conduct child abuse investigations of parents who give medically necessary gender-affirming care to their transgender children. Even after a Texas judge temporarily stayed such investigations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton insisted that they were legal and would continue.
The mere prospect of these probes terrifies families with transgender children. But Abbott’s order should also worry everyone who lives in Texas — and in other states that may try copycat efforts. If the child abuse investigations are allowed to proceed, they will signal a radical expansion of the power of the state to interfere with parents’ constitutionally protected right to make decisions about how best to raise and nurture their children.