On March 1, 2022, Baker Botts L.L.P. joined Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Texas in filing a lawsuit to challenge recent actions by Texas state executives to expand the statutory definition of child abuse to encompass the provision of medically necessary care to transgender minors. These new directives essentially criminalize the provision of medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender children. Seeking declaratory and emergency injunctive relief, the lawsuit argues that the new directives are procedurally defective—in violation of the Texas Administrative Procedure Act and beyond the executives’ authority—and substantively deprive Texas families of certain Constitutional rights.
The plaintiffs in Doe v. Abbott include a transgender youth, their parents, and a psychologist whose practice involves providing care to transgender individuals. The trans youth and their parents are already facing investigation by DFPS under the new directives and have suffered tremendous anxiety and distress caused by the investigation and the fear of their family being split apart. The psychologist, Dr. Megan Mooney, is now forced under the new directives to report to DFPS those patients of hers who receive medically necessary care. Dr. Mooney cannot comply with the new directives without harming her clients and violating her ethical and professional obligations.
“Gender-affirming care for the treatment of gender dysphoria is medically necessary, full stop,” said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Paul Castillo. “Criminalizing that care and threatening to tear children from their families is unconscionable and terrifying, and cannot stand,” Mr. Castillo added. “No family should have to fear being torn apart because they are supporting their trans child,” said Adri Pérez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas.
The Baker Botts team representing plaintiffs in Doe v. Abbott is led by partner Derek McDonald and senior associates Maddy Dwertman and Brandt Thomas Roessler. “Baker Botts is grateful to Lambda Legal and the ACLU for entrusting our firm to serve as co-counsel in advocating for the rights of transgender Texans and their families,” said Derek McDonald. “This engagement is especially meaningful to us—Texas is Baker Botts’ home, and many of our colleagues may have family, friends, and neighbors impacted by our advocacy.”
More information regarding the Doe v. Abbott lawsuit can be found in Lambda Legal’s press release and the ACLU’s press release.
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