House Republicans voted for a bill Wednesday that would stop Indiana courts from intervening when a transgender child is at risk of suicide.
Under current law, if a child is a serious risk to themselves or others and won’t get the care they need from their parent or guardian, a court can remove the child from their home.
Under Rep. Dale DeVon’s (R-Granger) bill, HB1407, the court could no longer do that if the parent or guardian is denying gender-affirming physical or mental health care for their transgender child.
“The biggest issue is protecting the parents,” DeVon said.
Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) is one of a few Republicans who voted against the bill. She said she’s fine with protecting parents' rights when there’s disagreement over their child being transgender. But she said the measure goes far beyond that.
“It might put jeopardy hundreds of other kids in our system,” McNamara said.
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The bill's origin is a court case currently being considered by the Indiana Supreme Court.
The court record shows that the Department of Child Services responded to multiple reports that a mother was emotionally and mentally abusing her child because the child is transgender.
The mother had taken the child out of school and discontinued therapy for them. The child did not feel safe in the home and DCS found that the risk of suicide or self-harm was more likely if the child were returned to the mother's care.
The court also took the child out of their parents' custody because they had developed an eating disorder that DCS believed would continue if sent back home.
DCS reported that the mother called her child "the bitch that killed my son." DeVon described her as a "strong Catholic woman" and "loving mother" whose child was, in his view, unjustly taken from her.
The House approved the bill 58 to 33, sending it to the Senate.