On Monday, a North Dakota judge made a significant ruling, dismissing a plea to block a ban on sex change surgeries for minors, as reported by Inforum. This law, signed by Republican Governor Doug Burgum in April, prohibits medical practitioners from administering hormone therapy or conducting sex change surgeries on minors. The lawsuit, brought forward by a doctor and multiple families against state Attorney General Drew Wrigley in September, sought an injunction to temporarily halt the law’s enforcement. However, Burleigh County Judge Jackson Lofgren denied their request, emphasizing the absence of a recognized protected class or new state constitutional principles.
Judge Lofgren’s decision underscores the absence of precedents or a constitutional basis necessitating heightened scrutiny for the challenged statutes. According to Inforum, Lofgren’s ruling clarified the lack of previous recognition by the North Dakota Supreme Court for the plaintiffs’ argument seeking strict scrutiny.
This law holds severe consequences for medical practitioners who defy it by performing sex change surgeries on minors or prescribing puberty blockers. Such actions could lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years and substantial fines. Governor Burgum defended the legislation, emphasizing its primary objective of shielding children from the profound and potentially irreversible impacts of gender reassignment surgeries at a young age.
Notably, North Dakota joins a growing cohort of 22 states that have implemented limitations on transgender medical procedures for minors. However, legal challenges have prevented several states from enforcing these laws effectively. In a related move earlier in April, Burgum signed another law prohibiting male athletes from participating in women’s sports across both college and K-12 institutions, aiming to maintain fairness in athletic competitions.
Despite these significant steps taken by North Dakota, Attorney General Wrigley’s office remained silent, declining immediate comment on the recent developments. This omission leaves unanswered inquiries regarding the legal recourse or potential strategies moving forward amidst the ongoing discourse surrounding these laws and their implications for the state’s medical and athletic landscapes.