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Federal Appeals Court Hears Minnesota Mom’s Nightmare Over Minor Son’s Illegal Sex Change



KaardalAttorneys from the Illinois-based Thomas More Society presented arguments in St. Paul, Minnesota federal court on behalf of the mother whose parental rights were violated when her son was shepherded through a sex change by county officials and their referred health providers. On October 16, 2018, in the United State Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, a three-judge panel heard from Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal (photo right) how Anmarie Calgaro’s minor son was provided with elective medical services for a sex change without her consent or a court order of emancipation. 

Calgaro sued her county, school district, and medical care providers for terminating her parental rights without due process when they decided, on their own, that the then-17 year-old was emancipated.

Kaardal argued that St. Louis County determined, without any legal basis, that the child was emancipated and could receive government benefits, even though Calgaro was a “fit parent” who objected to their actions.

According to Kaardal, Minnesota’s language regarding non-judicial administrative emancipation is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the federal constitution, and state law presents no procedural due process rights for “fit parents,” even though state law does so for those alleged to be unfit in child protection cases. “Why wouldn’t we provide the same court procedural due process for fit parents?” Kaardal asked.

Kaardal is particularly concerned about the conflict in legal statutes. “There’s a real disconnect in the District Court decision where the mother’s parental rights are admitted but not honored. At the same time, the District Court claims those agencies which are clearly violating Calgaro’s acknowledged rights are doing nothing wrong,” explained Kaardal. “The U.S. Court of Appeals needs to untangle this legally incompatible scenario by stating how the law of parental rights and emancipation work administratively by addressing emancipation law and procedures in a way that protects parental rights. Most importantly, the Court must ensure that any state law violating those parental rights is struck down as unconstitutional.”

The original lawsuit, Anmarie Calgaro v. St. Louis County et al., was filed in November 2016, when Calgaro charged St. Louis County, Fairview Health Services, Park Nicollet Health Services, and the St. Louis County School District with violating her due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The case detailed how these agencies usurped Calgaro’s parental rights over her minor son, providing him with transgender services and narcotic drugs. The youth was handled by the defendants as an emancipated minor despite there being no court action to that effect. Neither the school district, county, nor any of the medical agencies named in the lawsuit provided notice or hearing to Calgaro, prior to terminating her parental rights over her minor child.

An attorney representing accused health care provider Park Nicollet took no responsibility for any discrepancy between law and policy and said that his clients acted properly. Park Nicollet’s defense attorney claimed “unique circumstances” to justify emancipation without parental notice. When U.S. Eighth Circuit Judge Steven Colloton pressed the attorney to define unique circumstances, the attorney responded that the child was a “minor who did not live at home.”

A lawyer representing St. Louis County blamed worker error for the situation, denying that the county could be liable for a mistaken emancipation.   

Kaardal has referred to Calgaro’s situation as “a parent’s worst nightmare,” noting that her son, while a minor, was steered through a life-changing, permanent body-altering process, becoming a pawn in someone else’s sociopolitical agenda and being influenced by those who have “no legal or moral right to usurp the role of a parent.”

Read more about the Thomas More Society’s fight for Anmarie Calgaro’s parental rights here.

Read the Appeal Brief, filed July 31, 2017, with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Anmarie Calgaro v. St. Louis County et al., by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal, here.

View the accompanying Appellant’s Addendum here and Appellant’s Appendix here.


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