North Dakota Bans Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

North Dakota Bans Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

BYJoan SummersApr 20, 2023

Multiple outlets report that North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has issued a sweeping ban on gender-affirming care for minors, despite pushback from doctors, mental health professionalsand advocates in the state.

Local outlet InForum reports that House Bill 1254, sponsored by State Rep. Bill Tveit, states that any doctor who performs "sex reassignment surgeries on minors" are guilty of a Class B felony, which includes up to 10 years in prison as well as a $20,000 fine. It also includes bans on puberty blockers and hormone treatments for children, which carry a Class A misdemeanor charge, a year in prison and $3,000 in fines.

The outlet says Tveit claims the bill will protect minors from being "preyed" on by doctors seeking financial gain, which is not backed up by evidence. As advocates and medical professionals have already documented in extreme detail with similar bills across the country, bans of this nature have an increased risk of self-harm, isolation, and even suicide for young trans people in this country. Likewise, such bans are associated with a nationwide rise in anti-LGBTQ violence and hate speech.

AP reports that Gov. Burgun signed a trans athlete ban earlier this month. The governor said after the new bill passed, passed that people already receiving gender-affirming care services could continue treatment under a grandfather clause, although new cases would carry felony and misdemeanor offenses. The outlet also notes that 13 other states have enacted "trans bans" that restrict participation in sports, medical services, drag and entertainment, and more

In March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signaled that he wanted to dramatically increase the scope of the controversial "Don't Say Gay” Bill. At the time, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the changes would affect grades K-12, and was supported by various DeSantis appointees in the state.

ACLU lobbyist Cody Schuler said on Thursday of North Dakota's sweeping ban:

"This ban won’t stop North Dakotans from being trans, but it will deny them critical support that helps struggling transgender youth grow up to become thriving transgender adults. As our politicians continue to fail trans youth, it is up to each and every one of us to rise against their fear and ignorance and surround these young people with strength, safety and love.”

Image via Stephen Yang/Getty