Minnesota Dems advance radical ‘trans refuge’ bill that could strip non-consenting parents of custody

Minnesota lawmakers gave the green light to radical legislation on Thursday that would establish the state as the nation’s first “trans refuge” for children who want to undergo transgender medical procedures that are denied to them in other states.

(Video Credit: KARE 11)

The Minnesota House passed HF146 68-62 along party lines. The bill was introduced by the state’s first transgender lawmaker, Rep. Leigh Finke, who is a member of the Marxist Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and is USA Today’s “Woman of the Year” for the state.

“To all those families across the United States that are afraid and wondering where they can go for help — Minnesota is saying we see you, we love you and you belong here,” Finke declared.

Democrats are asserting that the bill will protect transgender people, their families, and healthcare providers from facing legal fallout for traveling to Minnesota to obtain hormonal treatments or transgender surgery. Democrats have introduced similar legislation in other states such as California.

“Gender-affirming care is lifesaving healthcare,” Finke informed reporters before a debate took place on the bill. “Withholding or delaying gender-affirming care can have a dramatic impact on the mental health of any individual who needs it. Rates of depression, suicide, substance abuse are dramatically higher in transgender and gender-expansive individuals who lack access to care.”


According to Fox News, HF146 would prohibit law enforcement from removing a child from parental custody in accordance with an order from outside Minnesota.

“This legislation is meant to ensure that children undergoing gender transition procedures allowed under Minnesota law cannot be governed by child protection laws of other states. It’s a direct response to neighboring South Dakota, where Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed a law banning puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatments, and sex-change operations for transgender individuals under the age of 18,” Fox News reported.

“The protections outlined in HF146 are vital for healthcare providers, who can continue to provide gender-affirming healthcare to their patients consistent with best practices, without fear of interference or punishment from other states,” Jess Braverman, who is the legal director for Gender Justice, stated according to the media outlet. “Parents are being forced to make an impossible decision, between staying in their homes and risking their child’s health and safety, or uprooting their lives and relocating, often at great personal cost. We can do our part to help by making it clear that if families move to Minnesota, they and their children will be protected under the law.”

Conservative groups and family law attorneys don’t see it that way. They are warning that the legislation could open the door for Minnesota parents to lose custody of their children if they refuse to allow them to undergo transgender procedures.

“The most insidious aspect of this bill is the language that adds children who are being denied ‘gender-affirming care’ (defined as everything from therapy to hormone blockers, to transition surgery) to what amounts to the definition for a child ‘in need of protection or services’ in Minnesota, allowing the courts to take ‘emergency custody’ of the child,” Bob Roby, who is a licensed attorney in Minnesota with more than 30 years experience in family and juvenile court, pointed out.

Roby has delved into the language of the bill extensively as he gets ready to go before legislative committees. He claims that the bill is written in such a way that it turns laws meant to protect children on their heads.

“This kind of court power has a long-standing precedent in Minnesota for keeping children safe. When a child is at risk of being harmed by a parent or custodian, the State has immediate authority to remove and protect the child from harm. Without this, there would be no way to protect children in those situations,” Roby told Fox News Digital via an email. “To add children who are being denied ‘gender-affirming care’ to the definition of children in need of this kind of drastic emergency action is obviously unwarranted.”

He went on to accuse the state legislature of “criminal negligence” for failing to consider the impact of HF146.

Renee Carlson, who is the General Counsel of True North Legal, a legal initiative of Minnesota Family Council, also warned that the bill will “create confusion and increased litigation for the courts, while stripping parents of their fundamental rights, disregarding informed consent, and encouraging young children on a dangerous path to serious lifelong biological and medical consequences.”

Hundreds of opponents and supporters of the legislation showed up at the Capitol as it was being debated. Signs read, “Protect Kids” as dozens shouted, “Vote no!” Others yelled, “Vote yes!” and held signs that read, “You belong here.” The division is stark on the issue.

“Whether gender-affirming care is right for minors has become a major flash point in the culture wars across the country,” Fox News noted. “The unicameral Nebraska Legislature gave preliminary approval earlier Thursday to a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. Georgia’s governor, Republican Brian Kemp, signed a ban Thursday. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, another Republican, did so Wednesday. The Missouri Senate gave preliminary approval to a ban Tuesday. Bans were enacted earlier in South Dakota, Utah, and Mississippi.”

The “trans refuge” bill will now make its way to the Minnesota state Senate, where Democrats hold a one-seat majority.


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