Texas Child Services Worker Tells Judge Trans Law Dangerous
(Bloomberg) -- An employee with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services told a judge she is resigning rather than help enforce Governor Greg Abbott’s order to consider gender-affirming care for transgender children to be child abuse.
Randa Mulanax, an investigations officer with Child Protective Services, was the first witness at a Friday hearing on whether Abbott’s directive should be put on hold during a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups.
“It feels like we are stepping into a dangerous territory,” Mulanax said under questioning by a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s a slippery slope of what would be next, what other medical or private decisions would the government try to interfere with?”
Mulanax, who’s been with the agency for six years, said the department is stretched thin probing actual child abuse and that investigators regularly defer to medical experts when it comes to child safety.
Abbott’s Feb. 22 directive -- part of the state’s broad culture war on divisive issues like abortion, immigration and mask mandates -- has triggered a firestorm from critics. Advocates for transgender rights said Texas was setting the stage for families to be investigated and torn apart for treating children with gender dysphoria. Licensed professionals such as teachers, doctors and nurses would also be at risk of liability for failing to report such treatment.
“If they’ve already recommended these treatments, it’s not our position to step in and say they’re not correct,” Mulanax said of medical experts working with transgender children, several of whom are already being investigated. “It’s heartbreaking that these cases are coming in.”
Under cross-examination by a lawyer for state, Mulanax conceded that current state law prohibits parents from giving controlled substances to children, and that testosterone is a controlled substance.
“I don’t believe that would be wrong,” so long as a doctor prescribed it, Mulanax said.
The case is being overseen by Judge Amy Clark Meachum of the Texas District Court in Austin. Last week she issued a narrow, temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the directive for one family and their medical professional. Friday’s hearing will determine if such an injunction should apply statewide.
President Joe Biden has criticized the Texas directive and said new measures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would help protect families of transgender children. New York’s attorney general has called on the Justice Department to investigate the Texas rule.
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