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Trans refuge laws violate parental rights


WORLD Radio - Trans refuge laws violate parental rights

Minnesota and Washington identify as ‘trans refuge’ states

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, gestures where signed three progressive priorities, a ban on conversion therapy for minors and vulnerable adults, and two bills that would make Minnesota a refuge for people traveling here for abortion and gender affirming care, Thursday, April 27, 2023, in St. Paul, Minn. Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 4th of May, 2023. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up, gender identity and parental rights. Last week, two states passed so-called “trans refuge” laws.

TIM WALZ: Minnesota says, ‘welcome to a state that values who you are and protects you for who you are.’

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz heard there on Thursday. Walz said, “It’s a good day for freedoms” after signing this bill, along with two others codifying abortion rights and banning so-called conversion therapy.

BROWN: Meanwhile, in the state of Washington, Governor Jay Inslee signed a similar set of laws.

JAY INSLEE: Other states may take and are taking draconian steps that attempt to punish people who are providing aid to people receiving abortions and gender affirming care, but we will not stand for that in Washington State.

Context matters:

Back in April, Idaho passed a law making it a felony to give puberty blockers or transgender surgeries to minors.

In response, Minnesota’s law refuses to comply with any arrest warrants or subpoenas other states might issue to track down families pursuing transgender procedures. This even though the Idaho law doesn’t extradite families seeking gender transition in other states.

REICHARD: There’s more. The Minnesota law changed the rules for when the state can take emergency custody of a child. In addition to abuse and abandonment, a child’s failure to obtain quote “gender-affirming” treatment is now grounds for removal from the home.

For these reasons, some say that lawmakers in Washington and Minnesota are sprinting into dangerous territory.

Sarah Parshall Perry is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

SARAH PERRY: Minnesota has now like Washington State considered itself with the passage of this law to be a trans refuge state. And that means that a minor from any other state who is seeking any gender confirming medical treatment can flee to the state of Minnesota. And Minnesota is under no legal obligation to have to report the whereabouts of that minor child, to the custodial parents that actually prevents out of state laws from interfering in the practice of gender affirming health care.

BROWN: Supporters of these bills say they are defending the rights of children to be who they are. But the reality is that these laws radically alter the relationship between children and the state.

PERRY: It really does fast track the sort of provision of this transgender medical intervention to individuals who are not even of age of consent yet. The law in other respects, it considers that minor children, those under the age of 18 cannot, for example, enter into binding contracts. My daughter, who is 16, just got her ears pierced. I had to be present, I had to sign a form while she was getting her ears pierced. But the sort of push for generalized recognition of and affirmative approval for gender intervention is really now happening at a terrifying pace.

Perry goes on to say life-altering surgery or hormone treatments aren’t the only options for dealing with gender dysphoria. The majority of children with a gender identity disorder eventually find peace with their biological sex if given the chance to wait and see rather than take medical action.

REICHARD: Like abortion and same-sex marriage, transgender procedure laws are dividing states across the country. That means the federal courts will likely get involved. Regardless of the outcome, true refuge likely won’t be found at the state level, but much closer to home.

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