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Published on April 23, 2024
Seattle Children's Hospital to Halt Operations in Texas Amid Legal Battle Over Gender Transition Procedures for MinorsSource: Google Street View

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Seattle Children's Hospital has agreed to cease its business operations in the Lone Star State, bowing out rather than face scrutiny over providing gender transition procedures to minors. The hospital, based in Seattle, Washington, has been under the Texas legal microscope for potentially running afoul of state law SB 14, which bans such treatments for children. Paxton's office confirmed the hospital's withdrawal following a skirmish that began with an investigation last fall.

According to a statement released earlier today by the Texas AG's office, Seattle Children's has been allegedly involved in treating Texas minors with hormone therapies and transitioning procedures, despite the September 2023 enactment of SB 14. The law prohibits a range of medical interventions aimed at facilitating gender transition for those under 18. When the Texas children returned from Seattle, it seems the hospital continued providing care, sending hormone prescriptions back to Texas — a move that didn't sit well with state authorities.

Back in November, Paxton opened an inquiry into the hospital's practices, but rather than submit to the state's demands for documents and further information, Seattle Children's took the legal route and filed a lawsuit against Texas. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the hospital has now ceded its stance and opted to withdraw its business registration in the state. "Seattle Children’s Hospital appeared to break Texas law and initially tried to evade accountability when investigated," Paxton was quoted as saying in the official release. He added, "When we merely began asking questions, they decided to leave the State of Texas and forfeit the opportunity to do business here."

Paxton has presented the hospital's withdrawal as a testament to Texas's determination to uphold its laws, especially those designed to protect minors from what he describes as "damaging, experimental 'gender transition’ treatments that can have life-altering negative consequences." The move spotlights the ongoing national debate over the provision of, and access to, transgender health care services for youth—a debate that wherein Texas has positioned itself on the front lines. Despite altering its operations, Seattle Children's Hospital has yet to publicly comment on the issue following their agreement to pull out of Texas.