Case of Transgender Teen “Emancipated” from Mother Appealed to Supreme Court

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The case of Anmarie Calgaro involving her son who was emancipated by several entities in the state of Minnesota without any due process for the mother has now been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is her statement as she filed the original suit:

My name is Anmarie Calgaro. Last year, without my knowledge or consent, without any court hearings or legal process, without any involvement on my part whatsoever, a legal aid group that gives free services to low income people created a “Notice of Emancipation” for my 15-year-old son. Suddenly, my son, without any notice to me, was no longer under my supervision.

Based on that piece of paper alone, he began receiving public assistance including medical services and housing and food support. The St. Louis County Health and Human Services treated him as an adult. I couldn’t get any information regarding my son. Even the school refused to allow me to access his records.

It was then brought to my knowledge that my son had begun receiving hormone treatments from Park Nicollet Health Services to transition from male to female with Medical Assistance paying for these treatments to assist in the transition. I was not consulted or informed about this in any way. I had no way to give or receive information about his important healthcare needs.

Since then Fairview Health Services of Hibbing has also prescribed narcotics to my minor son. I am forbidden to be involved with his important health needs. The news that county agencies, health service providers, the school and other county and state offices were completely bypassing me came as a complete and total shock! Why wasn’t I even notified?

I believe that my Constitutional Civil Right to have my case heard in a court of law has been stripped from me. If this had been a child custody case, I would’ve had my day in court. If my son were to be placed in foster care, or if he had been referred to Child Protection, I would’ve had my day in court.

I am firmly committed to what is best for my son. I am his mother. He is and always has been welcome in our home. He has 3 older siblings and 3 younger which still live in our home. I love him beyond words, and I and our entire family care deeply about his well being.

As a mother, I know his emotional and physical needs in a way no one else can. I also have a commitment to him that no one else has, and I feel not only was I robbed of the opportunity to help my son make good decisions but that he was also robbed of a key advocate in his life, his mother.

I am taking this action today so that the courts will recognize my due process rights under the United States Constitution, and so that, for the good of my son, the courts will restore my parental rights. I am also taking this action for the benefit of all parents and families who may be facing the same violation of their rights, so that they and others in the future might be spared from suffering the same tragic events.

The attorney on this case, Erick Kaardal, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, explained the violation of Calgaro’s due process rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” shared Kaardal. “Anmarie Calgaro’s child, while a minor, was steered through a life-changing, permanent body altering process, becoming a pawn in someone else’s sociopolitical agenda and being influenced by those who have no legal or moral right to usurp the role of a parent…

… Kaardal shared that St. Louis County determined, without any basis, that the child was emancipated and could receive government benefits, even though Calgaro was a “fit parent” who objected to their actions. 

According to Kaardal, Minnesota’s language regarding emancipation is vague and state law presents no procedural due process rights for “fit parents,” even though it does so for those deemed to be unfit. “Why wouldn’t we make this same effort for fit parents?” Kaardal asked.

Kaardal is particularly concerned about the conflict in Minnesota’s legal statutes. “The U.S. Court of Appeals ignored the major disconnect in the District Court decision where the mother’s parental rights are admitted but not honored, and the ridiculous claims that the agencies which have violated Calgaro’s rights did nothing wrong,” he stated. “The United States Supreme Court now has the opportunity to untangle this incompatible and untenable scenario; so, nationwide fit parents can keep parenting without governmental interference.”

The Child Protection League (CPLAction) said of this case:

This case challenges a Minnesota state law that violates the rights of parents to have their day in court if their minor child desires emancipation and immunity from his parents’ supervision and authority.

It was this critical parental rights issue that Kaardal argued in the appeal based on the longstanding 2000 U.S. Supreme Court precedent Troxel v. Granville. This opinion affirms thousands of years of history and multiple other Supreme Court cases by making the constitutional “presumption that fit parents act in the best interest of their children.” Troxel also says that unless government entities can show evidence that the parent is not fit, there is “no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent’s children.”

Perhaps this case will provide what attorney and researcher Jane Robbins very cogently describes as more “Cracks in the Edifice of Transgender Totalitarianism.” Physicians, psychologists, medical journals, parents and women in sports from all points on the political spectrum are speaking out about the lack of science; the severe medical damage to children; the harm to parental rights, free speech, and freedom of religion; the squelching of the opportunity of women to fairly compete in sports; and multiple other problems associated with this ideology.

Although there is much discussion about the transgender issues in this case, it is fundamentally a parental rights case. There are more and more instances where parental rights and autonomy are receding as discussed here, here, and here. Parents need to be aware of the dangers to raise, educate, and care for their children presented by this case and to support groups like CPLAction and the Thomas More Society that are standing with Ms. Calgaro.


Karen R. Effrem, MD

Dr. Karen Effrem and her husband have three children. She is trained as a pediatrician and serves as national education issues chairman for Eagle Forum and president of Education Liberty Watch.