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Walz signs executive order protecting access to gender-affirming care

The order directs state agencies to ensure those seeking "safe, medically necessary evidence-based treatments" can access health care services in Minnesota.

ST PAUL, Minn. — "In this state, hate has no home."

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz delivered that message in St. Paul Wednesday before signing an executive order protecting gender-affirming care across the state.

The order will direct state agencies to work with health care providers to ensure people in the LGBTQIA+ community seeking "safe, medically necessary evidence-based treatments" can access health care services without fear of repercussions.

According to a release from the governor's office, the executive order is directing state agencies to take the following actions:

  • Coordinate to protect people or entities who are providing, assisting, seeking, or obtaining gender-affirming health care services.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Department of Commerce (COMM), and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) will investigate and take administrative actions for unfair or deceptive practices related to the denial of gender-affirming health care services.
  • MDH will prepare a report summarizing the literature on the scientific evidence about the safety and effectiveness of gender-affirming health care and its public health effects.
  • The state will decline to help other states that try to penalize individuals and entities seeking gender-affirming health care services.
  • The state will refuse requests to extradite individuals accused of committing acts related to, securing of, or receipt of gender-affirming health care services. 
  • MDH, COMM, MDHR, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will issue a joint bulletin to health plan companies regarding the availability of health insurance coverage and the provision of health insurance benefits for medically necessary gender-affirming health care services.

"We want every Minnesotan to grow up feeling safe valued protected celebrated and free to exist as their authentic versions of themselves," Walz said.

“This executive order protecting families and children in search of safe and effective and responsible health care will save lives," said Minnesota Rep. Leigh Finke, who leads the legislature's Queer Caucus. "It's not hyperbole to say as much.”

"Trans and gender-expansive people have existed for all of humanity. We will exist for all of humanity. What we’re saying here today is Minnesota is a place that will allow you to be who you are," Finke added.

Credit: KARE 11
Minnesota Rep. Leigh Finke

Gov. Walz added that Minnesota will continue to be a refuge for people seeking gender-affirming care, and the order will bar agencies from cooperating with states who mean to "punish or criminalize" people for seeking safe and medically necessary gender-affirming health services.

In December, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed a similar executive order to protect people pursuing gender-affirming care in the city. 

“Providers tell us that patients will come to Minneapolis to get the healthcare they need, but they worry that access could be taken away from them,” Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, medical director for the Gender Health Program at Children’s Minnesota, said at the time.

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