Some parents can’t help loving their children regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
Others feud for years. Anmarie Calgaro, the mother of a 17-year-old trans girl from northern Minnesota, chose to sue.
On Tuesday, Calgaro filed suit against Park Nicollet Health Services for allegedly providing “medical treatment for a sex change from male to female,” and Fairview Health Services for prescribing “narcotics.” (Not hormones, interestingly.) She’s suing the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services for paying for it, and the St. Louis County Schools for classifying the child as an adult with decision-making rights.
Also named as a defendant: Calgaro's 17-year-old trans daughter.
Calgaro claims that all involved have been treating the teen as if she had been legally emancipated through a court order, which she is not. Calgaro is represented by premier conservative lawyer Erick Kaardal and the Thomas More Society, an anti-abortion rights firm based in Chicago.
“This is an outrageous abuse of power by multiple agencies,” stated Tom Brejcha, president of the Thomas More Society. “To treat a minor child without either parental consent or a court order of emancipation is a violation of the trust placed upon the human service sector and its governmental oversight agencies. To give a parent no recourse to intervene in this situation is an egregious violation of Constitutional rights.”
What the lawyers are calling a violation of Calgaro’s constitutional rights is not illegal under Minnesota law, however.
Phil Duran, OutFront Minnesota’s legal director, points out that there’s no actual statutory process for emancipating a minor. When minors are living apart from their parents and managing their own affairs, state law does allow them to seek medical care, and does not require care providers to tell the parents.
“Constitutional law clearly protects the fundamental right of a parent to guide the upbringing and education of their children, but I have never seen anyone try to sue their own child for getting health care they, the parent, objects to,” Duran says. “Ought to be an interesting Thanksgiving dinner.”
Attorney Kaardal acknowledges that Minnesota law protects the healthcare providers, but calls those laws constitutional. But unlike the doctors, St. Louis County and the school district don’t have statutes to hide behind, he says.