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Seattle Hospital Files Lawsuit Against Texas AG Over Gender Transition Data Request

Seattle Children’s Hospital has initiated legal action against the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) after the OAG requested documents related to gender transition policies and care provided to Texas children. The hospital argues that the OAG lacks jurisdiction and invokes Washington’s “Shield Law” for protection.

OAG’s Request

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The Texas OAG sent two demands to the hospital, alleging misrepresentations regarding gender transitioning and reassignment treatments. The demands sought various documents and information related to these treatments and procedures, as well as Texas law compliance.

Civil Investigative Demand

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One demand, dated November 17, required the hospital to provide documents related to medications prescribed to Texas children, the number of Texas children treated, diagnoses for prescribed medications, Texas laboratories involved, treatment protocols for gender identity disorders, and guidance on transitioning care. Non-compliance could result in misdemeanor charges.

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Sworn Written Statement Demand

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The other demand required the hospital to answer questions related to the same issues under oath by December 7, under similar penalties for non-compliance.

Hospital’s Lack of Texas Ties

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Hospital officials, including Chief Medical Operations Officer Dr. Ruth McDonald, emphasized the hospital’s complete independence from the state of Texas. They state that the hospital has no property, accounts, or employees providing “gender-affirming care” in the state.

No Telemedicine Requests Either

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The hospital has not offered telemedicine services for such care to Texas residents either.

It has not even used public funds from Texas or Texas Medicaid for this purpose.

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Absence of Marketing in Texas

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Affidavits from senior hospital directors confirmed that servers and devices related to email and electronic health records services are all based in Seattle.

The hospital also stated that it has not marketed or advertised transition-related medical care in Texas.

Improper Investigation and Overreach

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The lawsuit filed by the hospital argues that the OAG’s demands are an overreach of AG’s authority. They are not a bona fide investigation into violations of Texas law.

Demands Based on Services Provided in Washington

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It claims that the demands attempt to enforce Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) against the hospital based on healthcare services provided in Washington, which is beyond the scope of the statute.

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Hospital’s Lawsuit

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Definitions in Senate Bill 14 that limit the law’s application to Texas are cited in the lawsuit: “Seattle Children’s is not (and cannot be) in violation of SB 14. The Demands are, therefore, an improper and ultra vires attempt to enforce SB 14 beyond the scope of the statute and beyond the authority of the Attorney General,” the lawsuit states. “The Attorney General, through the Demands for documents and information…is improperly attempting to investigate healthcare that did not occur in Texas.”

Constitutional Challenge

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The hospital’s legal team also argues that the OAG’s investigation violates the U.S. Constitution’s dormant Commerce Clause, which prevents states from enforcing protectionist laws that disrupt the national marketplace.

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