BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Whether or not a temporary restraining order should be issued to stop North Dakota’s new transgender healthcare law was the focus of arguments today in District Court in Bismarck.
In September, three families filed suit against the law on behalf of themselves and their transgender children, arguing the law provides unequal treatment to transgender children in North Dakota.
The statute, passed by a veto-proof majority of the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Doug Burgum, restricts transgender health care, making it a crime to provide gender-affirming care, such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments, to those younger than 18.
The law went into effect April 21.
During today’s hearing before Judge Jackson J. Lofgren, attorney Brittany Stewart of the group Gender Justice, speaking on behalf of the three families, argued a temporary restraining order is needed to block the law until further legal proceedings can fully decide the fate of the law.
Stewart said the three transgender youths are suffering “irreparable harm” while the law is in effect and that their rights under the North Dakota Constitution are being infringed. She said the families now have to travel out-of-state for their transgender youths to receive the treatment and care they were earlier receiving in North Dakota prior to the new law.
Attorney Joe Quinn, representing the state, said it is North Dakota’s right to regulate the medical profession, especially when it comes to the health and safety of minor children.
Quinn said no constitutional rights are affected by the law and that the statute should be seen as “a specific medical intervention for minors.”
Quinn argued the families were not likely to succeed in their challenge to the law on the merits of their case and, as such, a temporary restraining order should not be issued. He said the law should be allowed to remain in place while it is being challenged in court.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Lofgren said he would take the arguments and court briefs under advisement and issue an opinion “soon.”