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Seattle Children's Hospital Sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

The nonprofit hospital says Paxton's requests for information 'represent an unconstitutional attempt to investigate and chill potential interstate commerce‘

Seattle Children's Hospital Sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is being sued by a Washington hospital for asking for information about Texas residents who may have received medical intervention to treat transgender identity issues. 

Seattle Children’s Hospital accused Paxton of making sham requests while seeking medical information. 

According to the lawsuit, the hospital received a Civil Investigation Demand and a Request for Sworn Written Declaration from Paxton’s office on Nov. 20, 2023 compelling the hospital to provide “documents showing and information regarding diagnoses, medication prescribed, laboratory testing, and treatment protocols” used by doctors to treat Texas residents between Jan. 1, 2022 and the day the requests were filed. The hospital’s office was directed to respond by Dec. 7.

“Seattle’s Children’s files this pleading to contest persona jurisdiction of the Attorney General as his investigative authority, and the courts to Texas, with regard to any claim related to ‘Gender Transitioning and Reassignment Treatments and Procedures’ because Seattle Children’s is a nonresident corporation, and any such services are provided exclusively outside Texas,” the lawsuit stated. The plaintiff further argued that they are “expressly prohibited by Washington law from responding to the Demands.”

Washington passed a so-called “shield law” in April, prohibiting state authorities from honoring subpoenas based on the laws of another state that conflict with Washington’s regulations regarding abortion access and medical intervention for patients with gender identity issues. The governor is also barred from extraditing anyone accused by another state of violating its laws on the issues. 

“Freedom of choice is a health care issue. We are protecting access to health care,” said Governor Jay Inslee during a bill signing ceremony. 

The lawsuit also argued that releasing the requested data to Paxton’s office would be a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and other privacy laws. 

“Additionally, the Demands represent an unconstitutional attempt to investigate and chill potential interstate commerce and travel for Texas residents seeking care in another state,” the lawsuit added.

The lawsuit was filed in Travis County. 

In an affidavit, Seattle Children’s Hospital leadership said they do not treat any Texas patients, nor have they seen any Texas patients via telehealth services,” reports KUT News.

In contrast to Washington, Texas passed Senate Bill 14 in May. The law bars any minor in Texas from being given puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or surgeries as a treatment for gender dysphoria or because they identify as transgender. The law required doctors to wean any minor already receiving hormones or related medicines off the treatments.

The Texas Tribune reported that Texas was “home to one of the largest trans communities in the country, including around 30,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 17.”

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