Ruling strips parental rights, appeal forthcoming

Thursday, June 1, 2017
Charlie Butts (

judge banging gavelA Minnesota federal court likely won't have the final word in a major parental rights case in that state.

The issue is emancipation, the age at which children can make their own decisions independent of a parent's consent. The case involves Annmarie Calgaro whose son was secretly administered transgender hormones at age 17 with several agencies, including his school, directing his course. Attorney Erick G. Kaardal of the Thomas More Society took the case to federal court because of confusing state law.

Minnesota has laws establishing procedures to terminating parental rights in many areas. Kaardal says Calgaro's parental rights were terminated without those procedures.

"The administrative agencies here were terminating parental rights in the areas of medical services, education, and county benefits without an opportunity for the parent to be heard," Kaardal tells OneNewsNow.


Rather than seizing the opportunity and clarifying laws to establish firm parental rights, the federal court dismissed the lawsuit. Kaardal says it's an extremely important case so an appeal is in the works to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We don't like to see wasted opportunities in the federal courts when it comes to parental rights," the attorney says. "Parental rights are such an important and fundamental building block in society that, when we see them trampled on in a careless and negligent way, it makes us very, very unhappy."

A favorable decision in the Eighth Circuit would not only establish parental rights for the mother in this case, but for all parents in states under the jurisdiction of that court – which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Missouri, and Nebraska.

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