Seattle Children’s Hospital Files Lawsuit to Challenge Texas AG’s Requests
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sparked controversy by requesting records from Seattle Children’s Hospital regarding gender-affirming treatment potentially given to children from Texas. The court filings suggest that Paxton, a staunch conservative, is extending his investigation beyond state borders to target transgender healthcare. In response, Seattle Children’s Hospital has filed a lawsuit in Austin, Texas, seeking to invalidate or narrow Paxton’s requests.
Restricting Transgender Healthcare
Texas is one of over 20 states that have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. While the lawsuit filed by Seattle Children’s Hospital is still pending, the hospital argues that Paxton’s office has exceeded its jurisdiction and lacks the authority to request these records. The lawsuit also contends that the demands infringe on interstate commerce and travel for Texas residents seeking treatment in another state.
Protecting Patient Privacy
Ashley Speller, a spokesperson for Seattle Children’s Hospital, emphasized that the hospital complies with the law and took legal action to safeguard private patient information related to gender-affirming care services. The hospital received the request from Texas in November, prompting their decision to file the lawsuit.
Paxton’s office had previously sent similar letters to Texas hospitals earlier this year. In May, they sought information from Dell Children’s Hospital regarding their policies on puberty blockers and patients referred for treatment or counseling. The attorney general’s office claimed that these requests were necessary to determine if any state laws were violated or if misrepresentations were made to parents and patients.
The Texas Law and its Impact
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law restricting transgender minors from accessing hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and transition surgeries. Medical experts argue that such surgical procedures are rarely performed on children. The law also requires children who were already undergoing banned treatments to be gradually weaned off in a medically appropriate manner.
In the midst of a nationwide conservative movement targeting transgender rights, Democratic-led states have enacted legislation to protect and support transgender minors seeking gender-affirming care. The lawsuit filed by Seattle Children’s Hospital is part of this wave of efforts to provide refuge and defend the rights of transgender individuals.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s investigation into gender-affirming treatment for children continues, although the outcome of the Seattle hospital’s lawsuit remains undecided.