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

July 30, 2019

by Karen R. Effrem, MD


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.


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.

Archive: Karen R. Effrem, MD

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

  • Michele Lentz says:

    Here is Anmarie sharing this heartbreaking story. I admire both her courage and her unconditional love for her children.
    https://youtu.be/R-pcV_8DC-E

    • flo says:

      I feel sorry for the poor kid who left this mother at age 15. It is really sad living in an abusive home. To me that is the real story.

    • vinny says:

      The teen refused to live with the mother at age 15 and then never returned home. There is more to this story than this “heartwarming” youtube video lets on. I am skeptical. More than likely this sad family is being exploited for political reasons.

    • kaysha says:

      What is heartbreaking about this nauseating video is that the daughter is nowhere to be seen! That says a lot about the veracity of what is being said. Give the mother an Oscar!

  • Julie Quist says:

    Almost all of the sensationalist news stories about the Calgaro appeal to the Supreme Court contain significant factual errors. Calgaro’s son was 15, not 17 when treated as ’emancipated.’ This minor did not and has not had sex change surgery. Calgaro did not sue because her son was given sex change surgery against her will. She sued because Minnesota law allows minors to be treated as an adult (emancipated) without due process of the law. This is a civil rights violation under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment.

    I’m very familiar with this case. I’ve read the testimony. The crazy stories about abuse are simply false. This mother was allowing her minor child to live with relatives and attend school at the child’s request. Gender transitioning was not even on the map at the time Calgaro was objecting to being blindsided, never being even notified, never even questioned.

    If this had been a child custody case, Calgaro would have had her day in court. If her child were to be placed in foster care or been referred to Child Protection, she would have had her day in court.

    The gender issue is a secondary, but significant, development. The violation of a parent’s right to due process was there without the gender issue. The state assumed authority it didn’t have and should never be allowed to have.

    Here is a more accurate story, http://tinyurl.com/y26wr5b6

    • jk105 says:

      I agree with you. From all accounts, Minnesota’s “emancipation” laws have led to poor decisions by the state’s agencies and thus need clarification. Due process indeed.

      The important point is that the transgender issue is secondary to the legal question before the Court. Tell that to Karen, the author of this page. Look at that title. Look at the rest of this article. She mentions “Transgender Totalitarianism.” This article reeks of hate. She is using the due process question to demonize trans people.

    • vinny says:

      Fox News promotes politically biased propaganda. If the best you can do is link to one of its stories, I then am skeptical about everything else you write.

    • Jojo says:

      I was with you until you refer us to aFox News story. Now I am not.

    • Kaysha says:

      Your “accurate” story is from the right wing Fox News. It only quotes the clueless mother, who was not in her daughter’s life since she was 15 years old. Worse, it never quotes the daughter, who claims in court that the mother verbally and physically abused her. Quist it trying to sell us The Brooklyn Bridge! Her nose is growing!

  • Barbara Sikes says:

    No one and I man no one has the right to take a child from it parents like that and start doing experiments on them. This kind of thing has got to stop it is immoral and so wrong.

    • jk105 says:

      What is immoral and wrong is Karen Old Gal’s deceitful story.
      This girl hasn’t live with the so-called mother in years. This girl left the mother because of abuse and lived with her biological father and then with other adults. Two months before her eighteenth birthday this girl decided on her own to have the procedure. No one snatched her away from this mother to perform an “experiment”. That is a fiction cooked up in this story.

  • Kaysha says:

    This story is larded up with dishonest spin. This woman calls herself a mother even though the daughter has not lived with her for years. The daughter says the mother is physically abusive. For years the girl gets no shelter, no food, no financial or emotional support from the mother. But two months before the girl’s 18th birthday this woman wants to exercise parental rights and prevent a medical procedure. It sounds like nasty spite. If she was so concerned about the girl’s well being the girl would gave lived with her. This article is dishonest. More bigotry from effram.

  • jk105 says:

    “in court filings, E.J.K. wrote that her parents were at times verbally and physically abusive. She wrote in one brief that she was raised by a “network of other adults who supplied some of the care and nurturing that her biological parents were unable to offer,”

    That happened way before she attempted sex reassignment. Sounds unfit to me.

    “There is no hatred for transgender people at all, only deep grief at the medical and psychological harm being perpetrated on children and the loss of parental rights.”

    Cute coming from Karen Old Gal, who believes parents have the right to torture children with so-called “conversion therapy.” This is clear medical and psychological harm. This is clear hatred for gay kids.

    • Karen Effrem says:

      If this teen was abused, please produce the reports to child protection and legal documents showing official termination of parental rights based on child abuse charges for which there would have been a hearing, not filings related to this lawsuit and its appeals. If this mother was so abusive, why has it not been declared to be the case in any of the rulings in this lawsuit?

      I have never written a word about conversion therapy, so you don’t know what my beliefs are about that. However, it is undisputed fact that puberty blockers and other hormonal treatments cause irreversible physical harm and that children and adults who undergo the change treatments still have a very high rate of suicide even in very highly LGBTQ affirming countries like Sweden

    • jk105 says:

      So you don’t dispute the fact that the child left her mother at 15 and never returned. You don’t dispute the fact that the child accused her of abuse. Why? The Court case is a legal question about Minnesota’s “due process’. Yet, your article is hyperventilating over the secondary transgender issue. Your real reason for writing it is to demonize trans people.

      As you know conversion therapy has nothing to do with puberty blockers. I oppose them too. Conversion Therapy, however is psychological and (in some cases) physical abuse of gay children. You write, you have “deep grief at the medical and psychological harm being perpetrated on children.” Yet you don’t condemn this torture, do you? Your silence exposes your bigotry..

    • Kaysha says:

      “However, it is undisputed fact that puberty blockers and other hormonal treatments cause irreversible physical harm and that children and adults who undergo the change treatments still have a very high rate of suicide even in very highly LGBTQ affirming countries like Sweden.”

      Maybe so. But it is also an undisputed fact that Effrem remains silent while so-called conversion therapy causes psychological and physical harm to LGBTQ children. Shame on her.

  • jk105 says:

    “in court filings, E.J.K. wrote that her parents were at times verbally and physically abusive. She wrote in one brief that she was raised by a “network of other adults who supplied some of the care and nurturing that her biological parents were unable to offer,”

    The legal emancipation happened because the court found her to be an unfit mother. The daughter was legally emancipated before she attempted to have sex reassignment. Calgaro should have thought about her so-called “parental rights” before physically abusing her children. That’s the issue. Karen Old Gal’s indecent hatred of trans people should not be a factor here.

    • Dr. Karen Effrem says:

      No court or other jurisdiction has ever found Ms Calgaro to be an unfit mother. The judge in the initial lawsuit said that the mother’s parental rights were intact despite the fact that she was denied information about her child’s school and medical status. The emancipation was declared without any due process whatsoever. In fact, the child in question was denied a name change twice because of lack of parental consent after the administrative emancipation that denied the mother’s 14th amendment rights took place.
      There is no hatred for transgender people at all, only deep grief at the medical and psychological harm being perpetrated on children and the loss of parental rights.

    • jk105 says:

      Due process and parental rights? The daughter wasn’t living with this abusive mother for years!

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