Media Contact

Janna Farley,

September 14, 2023

Today, Gender Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of three North Dakota families seeking to end North Dakota’s criminalization of essential health care for transgender and nonbinary young people filed a lawsuit 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.

The following statement can be attributed to Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager:

"Today’s lawsuit is one of many legal challenges in response to a record-setting year of legislative attacks on transgender people, particularly transgender youth, across the country.

"The ACLU of North Dakota is honored to support the plaintiffs challenging this unconstitutional and illegal intrusion into the rights of adolescents, their parents, and the medical providers who care for them. Banning gender-affirming care violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

"It’s disappointing that Gov. Doug Burgum and the politicians targeting trans youth ignored the voices of parents, medical providers, and transgender youth themselves, instead choosing to put their politics between doctors and their patients. The ACLU of North Dakota and our partners who testified against the bill warned lawmakers about the possibility of a lawsuit. Today is the day our community makes good on that promise.

"At least 22 states have enacted laws banning or restricting gender-affirming care for minors, and most of the bans are being challenged in court. In June, a federal judge in the 8th Circuit Court – the same jurisdiction North Dakota falls under – permanently blocked an Arkansas law that aimed to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The judge said the law, which is similar to North Dakota’s, violates the rights of transgender youth under the Equal Protection Clause, their parents under the Due Process Clause, and the First Amendment rights of their medical providers. A federal judge also blocked Indiana’s ban.

T"hese decisions send a clear message: Laws like this, when tested by evidence, are indefensible under any standard of constitutional review.

"We all deserve the freedom to control our bodies and seek the health care we need, including gender-affirming care. Stripping that treatment away from trans North Dakotan youth only causes harm and does nothing to protect children.

"The ACLU of North Dakota will continue to do all that we can to advocate for the rights and well-being of trans North Dakotans in the face of government-sanctioned discrimination."