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'Parental rights' bill future uncertain, Senate leader 'does not see a path forward'

The Indiana Statehouse at night in early spring, as seen from the northwest side, near the state library. Light posts and can lights illuminate the building against a dark navy night sky.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
A spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said Bray “did not see a path forward” for the bill, both because of concerns about the policy and the ongoing lawsuit.

A bill that would stop Indiana courts from intervening when a transgender child is at risk of suicide may be halted in the Senate. It previously passed the House.

Bills are assigned to House or Senate Rules committees for a few reasons, including if the chamber leader wants greater control over the measure or intends to halt it.

HB 1407 comes from a case currently being considered by the Indiana Supreme Court.

A transgender child was removed from their home following multiple reports that their mother was emotionally and mentally abusing them. They had developed an eating disorder, and court documents said there were concerns their health issues would not be treated if the child was returned to their home.

The mother had taken the child out of school and discontinued therapy for them. During a House committee hearing, the mother said she disagreed with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria her child received from multiple mental health professionals.

The child did not feel safe in the home and, according to court documents, DCS found that the risk of suicide or self-harm was more likely if the child were returned to the mother's care.

The mother told lawmakers her child had aged out of the system and gone no-contact after turning 18.

A spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said Bray “did not see a path forward” for the bill, both because of concerns about the policy and the ongoing lawsuit.

READ MORE: Indiana lawmakers file record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills, tripling previous years

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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.

But if HB 1407 were made law, 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 bill’s author, Rep. Dale DeVon (R-Granger) described the mother in this case as a "strong Catholic woman" and "loving mother" whose child was, in his view, unjustly taken from her. DCS reported that the mother called her child "the bitch that killed my son."

Just because the bill is halted in the Senate does not mean it is dead. The language may be added to another measure as an amendment until the end of the legislative session.

Lauren is our digital editor. Contact her at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

Lauren is the digital editor for our statewide collaboration, and is based in Indianapolis at WFYI. Since starting for IPB News in 2016, she's covered everything from protests and COVID-19 to esports and policy. She's a proud Ball State University alumna and grew up on the west side of Indianapolis.