North Dakota families sue state over law banning transgender health care for kids

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:38 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Three North Dakota families are suing the state over its law banning transgender health care for kids.

A news release from the group Gender Justice says the families are asking a North Dakota circuit court judge to immediately block enforcement of the law — restoring parents’ right to parent their children and their children’s right and ability to receive standard medical care as prescribed by their doctors.

Represented by Gender Justice, the Lawyering Project, and Ciresi Conlin LLP, the three North Dakota families describe in the lawsuit how their lives and health care have been significantly disrupted by the law. They say the health care ban violates the North Dakota Constitution by singling out transgender children for unequal treatment under the law, and represents an unacceptable governmental intrusion into families’ private lives and personal decisions.

This Spring, North Dakota’s Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill into law that restricts transgender health care in the state, immediately making it a crime to give gender-affirming care -- such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers -- to people younger transgender or non-binary children under age 18.

At the time, Burgum said in a statement the law is “aimed at protecting children from the life-altering ramifications of gender reassignment surgeries” but added that medical professionals have testified these surgeries have not been performed on minors in North Dakota.

Across the country, 22 states have passed laws or policies banning gender affirming care for children, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.