Right now, parents in two different states are facing significant legal battles concerning parental rights. 

In Montana, the Kolstad family faces a custody battle with the state over their gender-dysphoric daughter, Jennifer. Jennifer struggled with significant mental health issues, and the family sought to get her traditional psychiatric care instead of a case designed to affirm her gender dysphoria. The state had Jennifer removed from her home in response. Criticism has been directed at Montana Governor Greg Gianforte for the state’s intervention and a subsequent gag order on the family.

In Texas, Senate Bill 14 seeks to prevent the type of terrible outcome faced by families like the Kolstads in Montana. The bill prohibits gender transition procedures on minors, thereby protecting children from these experimental, life-altering procedures. The Supreme Court case Loe v. Texas is challenging the constitutionality of SB 14, with arguments centered on the balance between protecting children from medical interventions causing irreversible harm and respecting parental rights to make medical decisions. However, the arguments used by the state to defend the law have sparked heated debate about whether the state is sacrificing parental rights more broadly in order to win the case.

Both cases highlight the ongoing struggle to balance protecting children and parental rights at the same time.

What’s Happening in Montana?

In a quiet Montana town, a family has found themselves in a custody battle over their gender-dysphoric teen daughter. The daughter, Jennifer, was recently taken into custody by Child and Family Services after her parents, Krista and Todd Kolstad, opted for traditional psychiatric care instead of adhering to recommendations aimed at reinforcing her gender dysphoria. This decision has sparked a contentious legal showdown, raising profound questions about parental rights, gender identity, and freedom of speech.

The Kolstads’ ordeal began when Jennifer, at the age of 14, expressed a desire to transition to a male identity. Jennifer also struggled with a myriad of other mental health issues.

Reports indicate that the Kolstads’ reluctance to support Jennifer’s gender transition prompted a state intervention. Despite the Kolstads’ plans to seek mental health care for Jennifer within the state, the state insisted on placing Jennifer in an out-of-state facility that would affirm her gender dysphoria. When the family refused, Jennifer was taken from their home.

Criticism has been directed at Montana Governor Greg Gianforte for defense of the removal of Jennifer from her parents.

The Kolstads’ legal battle escalated when they were slapped with a gag order by a state court judge, prohibiting them from discussing the case publicly. Their attorney, Matthew Monforton, argued that this order infringed upon their First Amendment rights and sought to have it dissolved.

The family recently had a lengthy conversation with Megyn Kelly about their story.

The case reignites sensitive debates surrounding parental rights and the boundaries of state intervention in family affairs.

Restricting Gender Transition Procedures in Texas

Meanwhile, in Texas, the passage of Senate Bill 14 (SB 14), which restricts gender transition procedures for minors, has sparked similar controversies.

The legality of SB 14 is being contested in the Supreme Court of Texas in a case known as Loe v. Texas, with arguments focusing on its constitutionality and impact on parental rights. During oral arguments, the state defended SB 14 by minimizing and downplaying the scope of parental rights, arguing that the state should have the authority to invade parental rights with minimal court oversight.

On the other hand, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argues that parental rights are so all-encompassing that parents should be able to obtain gender transition surgeries on their minor children.

The Family Freedom Project has countered both of these arguments, arguing that it is possible to protect children and parental rights at the same time. The reason that parents should not be able to obtain gender transition surgeries for their children is not because parental rights are limited in scope to begin with, as the state’s argument implies.

As FFP argued in our brief, it is crystal clear from constitutional law that nobody, whether they are a parent or anyone else, has the authority to cause irreparable harm to a child. The state has the authority and the duty to step in to prevent such harm. Thus, while parental rights are broad in scope and must be carefully protected by the courts, the state is also allowed to step in to protect children when the risk of harm is great enough. That is exactly what SB 14 protects children against.

At the core of both legal battles lies the fundamental question of parental rights and the extent of state intervention in family matters.

We believe that preserving constitutional principles is possible without compromising the protection of parental rights and children.

In the face of these challenges, it’s crucial to remember that parental rights are not negotiable commodities but sacred responsibilities ordained by God. It’s a battle worth fighting to ensure that families can thrive free from undue government interference.