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House GOP seeks to stop courts from intervening when transgender kids are at risk of suicide

Brandon Smith
IPB News

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.

READ MORE: What is gender-affirming care?

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.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2023 IPB News. To see more, visit .

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.