ST.  PAUL — Minnesota would be a legal “refuge” for children from Iowa and elsewhere to get “gender-affirming health care” that’s illegal in their home state, under a bill the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House passed early Friday morning after a long and heated debate.

Representative Larry Kraft, a Saint Louis Park Democrat, asked parents to think about how they’d feel if the government forced them to stop critical care for their child’s health.  “How could a government do this,” Kraft says, “and yet, it’s exactly what’s happening with bans on gender-affirming care in too many places, including just next door in Iowa and South Dakota.”

Representative Walter Hudson, a Republican from Albertville, responded that South Dakota is passing a law.  “‘…to make these abhorrent practices illegal,” Hudson says. “That is why our neighbors to the south in Iowa have done the same, because they love their children, because they don’t want to see harm come to them.”

The proposed law would also protect Minnesota providers from legal action by other states where such care is banned. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law this week that makes it illegal to start prescribing puberty blockers or to perform gender transition surgery on anyone under 18.