Today, House lawmakers voted to advance legislation that would allow the government to intervene in private medical decisions, prohibiting doctors from providing life-saving gender-affirming health care to transgender North Dakotans.
The ACLU of North Dakota opposes House Bill 1254. Medical decisions belong to trans youth, their parents and their doctors – not the government – and it is unconstitutional to single out one group of people and categorically ban all care.
“This bill represents vast government overreach that undermines the fundamental rights of parents, and by singling out gender-affirming care for categorical prohibition, House Bill 1254 violates the guarantees of equal protection and due process,” said Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager. “Medical experts, parents, transgender youth and advocates from across the state have been speaking up in an attempt to stop this harmful bill from moving forward. But despite strong opposition, some of our lawmakers seem determined to move ahead with this shameful effort to prevent parents and kids from deciding the best course of treatment for themselves.”
By specifically singling out medical care related to gender transition, House Bill 1254 violates the U.S. Constitution in three separate and concurrent ways:
- Discrimination against individuals based on sex
- Discrimination against individuals based on transgender status
- Violation of parent’s rights under the Due Process Clause
Doctors and medical organizations have been providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth for decades, and it is supported by every major medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. However, it has increasingly become a target of attacks from state lawmakers across the country. Federal courts have blocked the enforcement of legislative bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Arkansas and Alabama.
“Discrimination against a marginalized group is a distraction from the state’s real needs and hurts us all,” Schuler said. “Transgender people live in our state and need to feel like the government represents them, too. The more we legislate solutions in search of problems, the more our communities suffer.”
Similar legislation, House Bill 1301, was killed.
About the ACLU of North Dakota
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.