Plain Talk: Should North Dakota children have access to gender transition surgery?


MINOT, N.D. — Should children in North Dakota have access to surgery and other types of treatment that can change their birth gender?

If a bill that will be introduced in the 2023 session of the legislature is passed, such treatments would be prohibited. State Rep. Brandon Prichard, a Republican from District 8 who is sponsoring that bill, joined this episode of Plain Talk to discuss it.

The bill doesn’t make these treatments a crime. Rather, it allows civil lawsuits from children or their parents who feel the law was violated. Prichard said a separate bill he hopes to co-sponsor, which he expects will be introduced by Rep. Lori Vanwinkle of District 3, would provide a criminal penalty.

Why both? A criminal penalty is “very reliant on the state’s attorney prosecuting it.” He said that “bias among prosecutors” may lead to the law not being enforced, so he wanted to provide a civil remedy.

Why the need to prohibit this sort of gender-affirming treatment for children at all? Prichard spoke of a drive to “corrode the innocence of children,” though he wasn’t clear about how often this sort of thing is happening in North Dakota.

The “ability to access those records is very limited,” but said the information is irrelevant to him. “Even if there isn’t a single example of the surgeries happening in North Dakota, it wouldn’t change my strategy,” he said.

Also on this episode, co-host Ben Hanson and I discuss the ongoing controversy over the Fufeng corn milling plant in Grand Forks, and the recent efforts ( or, more accurately, lack there of ) by the federal government to bring clarity to the matter.

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