Legal battle continues over whether gender-transitioning care for Texas trans youth is 'child abuse'

A legal battle over what kind of healthcare decisions a family can make in Texas is intensifying.

Governor Greg Abbott wants the state to investigate parents of transgender kids, who may be getting "gender-affirming healthcare."

Civil rights groups sued, and the state is fighting back.

RELATED: ACLU files lawsuit to block Texas from investigating parents of trans youth

Things are on hold right now because Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the judge’s order. 

The temporary restraining order is specific to the family in the lawsuit, meaning state agencies can continue to investigate parents of transgender children.

It was a short-lived victory for civil rights organizations in Texas, when a judge in Austin granted a temporary restraining order Wednesday, stopping the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services from investigating the family of a transgender child. 

It only applied to that family.

A second hearing to stop those investigations statewide was set for next week.

But Thursday, AG Paxton filed an appeal, and the hearing is now on hold.

"Now, with the appeal, that trial court's ruling is stopped. CPS or the DFPS can go in and can continue the investigations right now," explained Shelly Skeen, senior attorney at Lambda Legal.

Last month, Paxton issued a non-binding legal opinion calling "gender-affirming care" child abuse. 

An attempt to pass that as a law failed in the Texas Legislature this year.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott's order treats gender-transitioning care for trans youth as ‘child abuse’

Last week, Gov. Abbott directed the Department of Family and Protective Services and other agencies to open 'child abuse' investigations against any family suspected to be supporting "gender affirming care."

It called on doctors, teachers, and citizens to report any transgender kid who looked like they were transitioning. 

Lambda Legal and the ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Department of Family and Protective Services employee with a transgender child.

The employee says CPS investigators questioned them in their home.

"Really, what the governor is doing is, not only is it not an alliance with the law, but it's also invading parents’ rights to make sure that they're kids are happy and healthy, and their kids have the best shot at having a full and good life," Skeen added.

The Biden Administration said it will defend families with transgender children.

President Joe Biden released a statement saying, in part:

"This is government overreach at its worst. Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country, the Governor’s actions callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points. These actions are terrifying many families in Texas and beyond. And they must stop."

Cathryn Oakley is senior counsel for the Human Rights Campaign. 

As of right now, the group hasn’t joined a lawsuit, but it’s been in contact with concerned parents.

"It's a lawless order, it is contrary to common sense. It is contrary to the facts. It is contrary to every other interpretation of Texas state law, and it's clear, frankly, that this is a political move," Oakley said.