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Source and Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

In re: Greg Abbott et al.


In re: Greg Abbott et al. (Texas Supreme Court, May 13, 2022): The Texas Supreme Court reversed an order forbidding the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating parents of transgender children for potential child abuse. The Texas attorney general issued an opinion in February 2022 concluding that “sex change procedures and treatments” constituted child abuse under Texas law and directed DFPS to investigate them as such. Parents of a child with gender dysphoria and a doctor who treats transgender children sued, arguing the opinion and subsequent DFPS media statements improperly announced a new agency rule without complying with administrative requirements under Texas law. A state court temporarily blocked the directive’s enforcement, which an appellate court affirmed. The Texas Supreme Court reversed, holding that DFPS has discretion to investigate reports of child abuse but that the attorney general does not have the authority to order DFPS to take action against parents of transgender children. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – July 18, 2022.

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