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Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has repeatedly targeted transgender people as he seeks reelection this fall.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday by three Texas families, a mother said her 16-year-old son attempted suicide after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state officials to investigate parents for child abuse if they obtain gender-affirming care for their children.
In their petition
, filed in Travis County district court, the families said they live in fear of their kids being taken away because they sought medically necessary health care. One of the families said they installed security cameras at their home due to the harassment they faced after Abbott, a Republican, handed down his order in February.
The suit demands that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) end its investigation of the families. It also seeks to block the agency from investigating any other families affiliated with LGBTQ+ advocacy group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Lambda Legal and the ACLU filed the suit, the second filed since Abbott's order. The governor based his directive on a nonbinding opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a fellow Republican.
Last month, the Texas Supreme Court upheld part of an appeals court order
in the earlier suit, preventing DFPS from continuing its probe of the individual family that filed the challenge. The court also said neither Abbott nor Paxton has the authority to direct DFPS investigations of families with trans kids.
In a bid to appeal to the GOP base, Abbott and Paxton have seized on punitive measures
against transgender Texans as they seek reelection this fall. In March, the governor's top election strategist, Dave Carney, bragged to reporters
that investigating the families of trans kids is a "winning issue."
Critics have blasted
both the Abbott's order and the AG's opinion as cruel, punitive and having no basis in medical science.
Declarations by family members included with the latest lawsuit paint a dismal picture of life for those under investigation.
The family whose child tried to take his own life said they were referred to an outpatient psychiatric facility after the teen consumed a bottle of aspirin. When the staff learned the youth was receiving hormone therapy, they contacted DFPS, which conducted multiple visits to the home.
“Being called an ‘alleged perpetrator’ in my own living room shocked me, and I immediately felt harm and stigma for being falsely accused of harming my own child simply by providing him with medically necessary health care,” wrote the teen's mother, who used a pseudonym.
"[My son] is receiving mental health care and is recovering from the attempt, but these events have devastated our life," she added.
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