A proposed law in Maine would make the state the 15th “trans refuge” as lawmakers push back on attempts by some activist state attorneys general to demand private medical information from health authorities.
Texas, in particular, has been at the forefront of attempts to persecute trans youth and their parents, along with hospitals, doctors, and healthcare providers, across state borders. Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has gone so far as to send special investigators across the state border to interrogate children and their families.
The bill would protect Texans who flee to the state to seek medical care for their children or move there permanently to escape persecution. It would prevent states from issuing search warrants or demanding the extradition of the children.
Paxton has threatened to arrest parents who do not comply, and the law would require that warrants issued by the far-right attorneys general be treated as the “lowest law enforcement authority,” ranking lower than traffic tickets and civil court subpoenas.
The law would also give Maine temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is within state borders and hasn’t been able to seek gender-affirming healthcare in another state. While anti-trans activists have claimed this would allow the state to “take away trans kids from non-affirming parents,” it would only allow the state to present a case to a judge. As in the case of a cisgender teen, the state would need to prove the child is at risk of abuse or neglect.
It would also allow the state to intervene on behalf of a child when parents are involved in a custody dispute where one parent lives outside of state borders if the issue revolves around the child’s healthcare.
It would also ban healthcare providers from complying with out-of-state demands that they share private medical information for their patients, as some states have sought.
If the law passes, Maine would join 14 other states and the District of Columbia in protecting transgender children and parents.