Seattle Children’s Hospital won’t have to provide trans patient records to Texas under new settlement

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a press conference in 2021. (Mark Felix For The Texas Tribune, Mark Felix For The Texas Tribune)

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will drop his quest to seize transgender patients’ information from a Seattle children’s hospital, according to a court settlement Paxton’s office announced on Monday.

Seattle Children’s Hospital officials have said in sworn depositions that the facility does not have staff who treat trans kids in-person within Texas or remotely from Washington.

As part of the settlement, the hospital will withdraw its business license in Texas, though it wasn’t immediately clear Monday for what purposes that license was used.

The agreement comes as Paxton and the hospital face off over a November investigation opened by the attorney general two months after a new Texas law banned the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender youth.

Seattle Children’s was one of at least two clinics that received such demand letters from Paxton’s office. Those requests for information were among several recent state and local legal maneuvers in which Texas’ conservative movement is testing how far it can extend abortion and gender-transition restrictions beyond state lines.


Agreement between Texas and Seattle Children's Hospital to end a legal battle over patient records.

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Texas legislators passed the ban on transition-related care for kids despite opposition from doctors and advocates who argue that gender-affirming care is lifesaving for transgender youth who face higher rates of suicide attempts and mental health problems than their cisgender peers.

Over the last several years, Republicans in Texas have also restricted transgender youth from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity and tried to limit which bathrooms trans people can use in public.

Paxton’s office is also in a legal battle over whether or not the state could open child abuse investigations into parents who provided their children with transition-related care before the state’s new ban went into effect.

[Here’s what to know about transition-related health care, which Texas has banned for children]

Suspecting that Seattle Children’s was providing youth in Texas with puberty blockers or hormone therapy, the attorney general’s office sent the Washington-based health care system an investigative subpoena demanding any patient records of Texas residents who have received transition-related care.

The AG stated in court filings that it was investigating the hospital for potentially violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Last week’s agreement demonstrates that the hospital and Paxton “have satisfactorily compromised and settled all matters in dispute,” according to the agreement signed by a Travis County judge.

Paxton sent a nearly identical request to a Georgia-based telehealth clinic, which said it stopped servicing Texas youth after transition-related care was banned in September.

William Melhado contributed to this story.

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