State representative Walter Hudson (R.) slammed Minnesota's "trans refuge" bill—which allows children from other states to get sex change procedures in Minnesota—calling the bill a threat to parental rights and the safety and health of children.
House Bill 146 is "meant to ensure that children undergoing gender transition procedures allowed under Minnesota law cannot be governed by child protection laws of other states," Fox News reported. The bill is a Democrat-sponsored response to the nine states that have outlawed pediatric transgender procedures, such as puberty blockers and sex-change surgeries, in the last year.
"Your kid gets [to Minnesota]," Hudson said Friday during the House debate. "You're their parent, you have legal custody of them, they're your child, but they're in Minnesota, you're in Iowa, and as soon as they say the magic words 'I'm looking for gender-affirming care,' just like that—parental rights canceled. You no longer have access to your child."
"I don't trust it," Hudson said. "This is a bill, despite what the author claims about what it does and doesn't do—I can read, I have a means of cognition, I understand what I see—this is a bill that exists for the purpose of canceling the parental rights of the citizens of the United States who don't happen to be residents of this state."
Fixed video. pic.twitter.com/5LPnaRUH0v
— Walter Hudson (@WalterHudson) March 24, 2023
Family lawyers and conservatives have echoed Hudson's concerns, arguing that the wording of the bill leaves the door open for parents to lose custody of their children for denying "gender-affirming care."
"The most insidious aspect of this bill," Minnesota attorney Bob Roby, who has more than 30 years experience in family and juvenile court, told Fox, "is the language that adds children who are being denied 'gender-affirming care' (defined as everything from therapy to hormone blockers to transition surgery) to what amounts to the definition for a child 'in need of protection or services' in Minnesota, allowing the courts to take 'emergency custody' of the child."
House Bill 146, proposed by Minnesota's first transgender representative, Leigh Finke (D.), passed Friday 68-62 along party lines. Finke and other Democrats defended the legislation, saying that "gender-affirming care is life-saving health care."
"Withholding or delaying gender-affirming care can have a dramatic impact on the mental health of any individual who needs it," Finke said.
"What you expect us to believe … is that it is somehow 'life-saving' and 'affirming' to poison and mutilate," Hudson told fellow lawmakers. "And I don't need to go to school for eight years and become a doctor to know that's BS."
"Cutting somebody's arm open and taking pieces out of it, chopping pieces off a person to create a facsimile of genitalia is mutilation, that's what it is," Hudson went on. "And the language we use matters. Being specific is important if, if, if you care about the truth, if you care about health, if you care about the well-being of the children we're talking about here."
Hudson also called out the irony of Rep. Larry Kraft's (D.) plea in defense of the bill, that good parents are willing to do anything for their children.
"Inclusive within the 'we're willing to do anything for them' is 'stop them when they are harming themselves.' And we've all done it. There isn't a single parent in this room, or anywhere in this state of Minnesota, who has not intervened in what their child wanted because they knew it wasn't healthy for that child," Hudson said.