Seattle Children’s Hospital has launched a lawsuit against the state of Texas for requesting documents connected to gender-affirming patient care.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this month in Travis County District Court in Texas, claiming that the hospital is required under Washington state law not to comply with the Texas Attorney General’s request. Seattle Children’s denies that Texas has the right to force the hospital’s documents under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which it cites as the legal basis for the requests.
On Nov. 20, the Texas Attorney General’s office served Seattle Children’s with a Civil Investigative Demand, according to court filings. The state sought data pertaining to gender-affirming care for Texas patients, such as prescriptions, diagnoses, and instructions on how to “wean” a child off gender-related care. The request included sworn written statements from Seattle Children’s.
Seattle Children’s Hospital points to Washington’s “Shield Law,” which shields it “from civil and criminal actions in other states that restrict or criminalize reproductive and gender-affirming care.”
According to the lawsuit, state law prohibits the hospital not to “comply with a subpoena, warrant, court order, or other civil or criminal legal processes for records, information related to lawful protected health care services in the state of Washington.”
While the hospital has workers licensed to work in Texas, none of them provide gender-affirming care, and no state funds have been taken as part of the deal.
“Seattle Children’s took legal action to protect private patient information related to our organization’s gender-affirming care services, as requested by the Texas Attorney General.” All health care services given by Seattle Children’s are in accordance with the law.
“We cannot comment further at this time due to ongoing litigation,” a hospital representative told KING 5 in a written statement Thursday.
In April, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation to protect Washingtonians’ access to abortions and other gender-affirming health care. House Bill 1340 shields Washington healthcare practitioners from disciplinary penalties for delivering legal abortion and gender-affirming care.
KING 5 has requested a response to the lawsuit from the Texas Attorney General’s office.