ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday signed an executive order protecting the rights of the state's LGBTQ+ community to seek and receive gender-affirming health care.
"As states across the country move to ban access to gender-affirming care, we want LGBTQ Minnesotans to know they will continue to be safe, protected, and welcome in Minnesota," Gov. Walz said in a statement. "In Minnesota, you will not be punished for seeking or providing medical care. This Executive Order delivers the urgent action that our LGBTQ Minnesotans deserve."
Gender-affirming health care refers to all medical, surgical, counseling or referral services, including telehealth services, that someone may receive to support and affirm their gender identity or expression.
Walz says Executive Order 23-03 protects the rights of the LGBTQ community to seek and receive gender-affirming health care in Minnesota. The order directs state agencies to take the following actions:
- State agencies will 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.
- To the maximum extent possible, 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 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.
The order will go into effect 15 days after it is published in the state register and filed with the Secretary of State.