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Tipsheet

Montana Health Department Restricts Transgender Birth Certificate Changes

AP Photo/Armando Franca

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services adopted a rule change on Friday that prohibits transgender residents from changing their sex on state-issued birth certificates after they’ve received “gender-affirming” surgeries.

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The rule change went into effect on Saturday. The new policy explains that the sex listed on a person’s state-issued birth certificate may only be changed in limited circumstances, such as “scrivener’s error” or “the sex of the individual was misidentified on the original birth certificate:

(b) The sex of a registrant as cited on a certificate may be corrected only if: 

(i) the sex of an individual was listed incorrectly on the original certificate as a result of a scrivener's error or a data entry error, and the department receives a correction affidavit and supporting documents, consistent with ARM 37.8.108(4), (5), and (6), including a copy of the records of the health care facility or attending health care professional, contemporaneous to the birth, that identify the sex of the individual, with an affidavit from the health care facility or professional attesting to the date and accuracy of the records; or 

(ii) the sex of the individual was misidentified on the original certificate and the department receives a correction affidavit and supporting documents, consistent with ARM 37.8.108(4) and (5), including a copy of the results of chromosomal, molecular, karyotypic, DNA, or genetic testing that identify the sex of the individual, together with an affidavit from the health care facility, health care professional, or laboratory testing facility that conducted the test and/or analyzed the test results, attesting to the test results and their accuracy.

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PBS reported that the rule change occurred days before a court will hear arguments over a similar rule that’s been in effect on an “emergency basis” since May. The ACLU of Montana has asked state Judge Michael Moses to strike down the emergency rule. Transgender plaintiffs represented by the ACLU of Montana have said that birth certificates that do not align with a trans person’s “gender identity” puts them at risk of “embarrassment, discrimintaion, harrassment or violence.”

“As some scientists have noted, ‘[h]uman sex is an observable, immutable and important biological classification,’ it is biological (and thus, genetic), binary, and immutable,” the rule continued. “The department agrees.”

Last year, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed S.B. 280 into law, which required transgender residents to undergo a “gender-affirming” surgical procedure if they wanted to change their birth certificate to match their “gender identity.”

On “Transgender Day of Visibility” this year, Biden administration agencies released guidance promoting “gender-affirming” care for minors, which Townhall covered. The agencies that published the guidance claimed there are “gender-affirming” steps that are “reversible.” 

Guidance from the HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Child Traumatic Stress Network claimed that “gender-affirming care is neither child maltreatment nor malpractice” even though it includes puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

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The NCTSN’s guidance added that “gender-affirming care should not be used to deny care or separate families working to make the best decisions for the children’s well-being,” alluding to how a Texas launched investigations into the parents of transgender minors for child abuse, which Townhall covered.

In an interview earlier this year with Townhall, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said “the answer is clear regarding so-called sex-change procedures, puberty blockers, and hormone therapies. When performed on children, these procedures are 'abuse' under Texas law. They’re illegal. And family courts, family-law government agencies, and the like must do their part to stop it."

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