Series of bills on transgender policy go before ND House

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 8:15 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2023 at 9:35 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The North Dakota House of Representatives heard seven more bills relating to transgender people Friday, some of which passed, while others did not.

State lawmakers couldn’t be more divided about gender-affirming care.

“This needs to be written in our criminal code. We have to have a criminal violation for butchering children and for changing them and for playing on a dysphoria,” said Rep. Brandon Prichard, R-Bismarck.

“Gender affirming care is suicide prevention. Prohibiting this care would be devastating,” said Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, D-Fargo.

HB 1254 would make it a class B felony – on par with manslaughter and punishable by a 10-year, $20,000 fine – to perform gender-affirming surgery on someone under 18.

“Final vote shows 66 yea, 25 nay, 3 absent/not voting. House bill 1254 is declared passed,” said House Speaker, Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Devils Lake.

Another bill that passed – HB 1474 – would require collection of vital statistics to align with sex assigned at birth.

“You shouldn’t be finding a lot of prostate cancer among females, which you would if you don’t actually report based on their biological sex,” said Rep. SuAnn Olson, R-Baldwin.

But those opposed see a change in reporting as eliminating a group of people from reporting.

“This is just a complete overreach of our government, and again another example of us just trying to limit and erase certain people from our society,” said Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo.

But not all the trans bills passed. One would’ve allowed social workers to practice conversion therapy if someone asked for it.

“It’s a healthcare freedom bill. All it says is that, if the individual consents, they know what the treatments going to be, and the social workers comfortable with it, they can go forward and treat, or have a plan, or whatever it may be, to get them where they want to be in their life,” said Prichard.

But that’s not how those opposed saw it.

“We didn’t care about healthcare freedom when we were telling parents what kind of care they can give to their children. We didn’t care about healthcare freedom when we told kids what kind of care they can get. So, I don’t think it has any bearing on this bill now to talk about healthcare freedom, Mr. Speaker,” said Rep. Zac Ista, D-Grand Forks.

The House passed two other trans-adjacent bills Friday, one codifying parental rights and one prohibiting people from updating their birth records without first getting gender-affirming surgery.

Earlier this week, the House passed two bills that would bar trans girls and women from participating in girls and women’s sports.

Those bills and the bills passed Friday did so with veto-proof majorities.

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ND House advances two trans sports bills