A law aimed at making Minnesota a “trans refuge” state was passed by the state’s House of Representatives following a 68 to 62 vote.
The policy, HF 146, would block out-of-state laws – including custody laws – from preventing medical intervention aimed at treating children who identify as transgender. Treatments could include puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, permanent hair removal, voice therapy, and surgical interventions such as mastectomies.
Minnesota law enforcement would not be able to assist with requests from other states attempting to enforce their laws.
“The bill would prohibit the enforcement of a court order for removal of a child or enforcement of another state’s law being applied in a pending child protection action in Minnesota, when the law of another state allows the child to be removed from the parent or guardian for receiving medically necessary health care or mental health care that respects the gender-identity of the patient,” according to a summary of the bill shared on the House’s website.
Proponents of the bill say the policy protects children who identify as transgender from harm and discriminative policies.
Minnesota Representative Leigh Finke, the bill’s sponsor, said the laws enacted in other states that prevent minors from undergoing permanent treatments for gender identity issues create a “culture of fear in children and their parents.”
“This need is desperate in my community. This is not a hypothetical scenario,” wrote Finke. “There are gender-diverse people in Minnesota right now receiving gender-affirming care. More are fleeing their home states asking where they should turn.”
Minnesota has positioned itself as a pro-medical intervention state when confronted with questions about the treatment of transgender-identifying minors. On March 8, Governor Tim Waltz signed an executive order aimed at “protecting and supporting access to gender-affirming health care.”
“We want every Minnesotan to grow up feeling safe, valued, protected, celebrated, and free to exist as their authentic versions of themselves,” Walz said, per PBS.
The bill has been widely denounced by pro-family organizations as a form of overreach that unjustly suppresses the rights of parents.
Rebecca Delahunt, the assistant director of public policy for the Minnesota Family Council, told MPR News that HF 146 “takes away custody from parents or guardians who deny their children access to gender-affirming health care.”
Bob Roby, a licensed attorney in Minnesota who specializes in family law, told Fox News the language of the bill categorizes “a child being denied transgender care alongside abuse,” which “turns laws meant to protect children on their head.”
“HB 146 undermines parental rights, and most concerning, has zero guardrails to protect our kids,” said Representative Peggy Scott, a Republican from Andover.
According to Reuters, the number of children between the ages of 6 and 17 who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria more than tripled between 2017 and 2021 — skyrocketing from 15,172 to 42,167. In total, 121,882 children were diagnosed with gender dysphoria during that four-year period.
The prescription of puberty blockers correspondingly increased during the same period of time. In 2017, 633 children between 6 and 17 began puberty blockers as a treatment for gender dysphoria. In 2021, the same treatment was prescribed to 1,390 minors.
Democrats hold a single-seat majority in the state Senate, where HF 146 will now be transferred for a vote.