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BISMARCK, North Dakota (LifeSiteNews) — North Dakota can continue enforcing its law protecting doctors from mutilating gender-confused children with drugs or surgeries while a challenge works its way through the courts, a federal judge decided Monday.

South Central District Judge Jackson Lofgren upheld the protections, rejecting a request to temporarily block an April law signed by Gov. Doug Burgum that bans the transgender mutilation of minors.

Lawyers made the request in an effort to stall enforcement of the law while a lawsuit filed by a doctor who performs transgender surgeries and three sets of parents of gender-confused children works its way through the courts. The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit against North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley in September.

Judge Lofgren said the physician and parents had failed to establish that the new legal protections ran afoul of the Constitution “beyond a reasonable doubt,” The Daily Wire noted. He also pointed out that gender-confused people are not a “protected class.”

READ: North Dakota bans ‘transgender’ males from girls’ bathrooms

“The plaintiffs argue the challenged statutes are subject to strict scrutiny,” the judge wrote in his decision. “However, this heightened scrutiny hinges upon inclusion in a protected class not previously recognized by the North Dakota Supreme Court or a new application of state constitutional principles.”

Lofgren explained that his decision allows the continued enforcement of the law while the legal case progresses. The judge also suggested the plaintiffs had damaged their case by filing in September, months after the law was signed, Valley News Live reported.

The law in question, House Bill 1254, makes it a class B felony for any healthcare provider to perform surgery “for the purpose of changing or affirming the minor’s perception of the minor’s sex” and a misdemeanor to prescribe drugs for that purpose.

Violators could face up to 10 years in prison or $20,000 in fines.

Burgum, who signed additional laws in April prohibiting boys from competing against girls in school and college sports, as well as prohibiting men from using bathrooms for women in colleges and prisons, explained at the time that the law “is aimed at protecting children from the life-altering ramifications of gender reassignment surgeries.” 

LifeSiteNews has extensively reported that, in addition to asserting a false reality that one’s sex can be changed, transgender surgeries and drugs have been linked to permanent physical and psychological damage, including cardiovascular diseases, loss of bone density, cancer, strokes and blood clots, infertility, and suicidality. In addition, studies indicate that over 80 percent of children suffering from gender dysphoria will outgrow it on their own by late adolescence without surgical or pharmaceutical interventions.

The recent spike in transgender identification and surgical and chemical mutilation of children in recent years has coincided with kids across the country being actively encouraged in the culture and their classrooms to adopt “transgender,” “gender fluid,” or “non-binary” identities.

READ: North Dakota’s GOP gov. finally signs bill keeping male students out of girls’ sports

While Gov. Burgum said shortly after signing the law that the surgeries it prohibited had not been performed at that time in the state, the surgical and pharmaceutical mutilation and sterilization of young people does occur in many U.S. states and has been increasing in recent years. 

States have responded with competing legislation, with some promoting the mutilation of children and others restricting the practice.

The Daily Caller noted that nearly half of all U.S. states have passed laws banning or restricting mutilating trans surgeries for minors after Republican-led Arkansas became the first to do so in 2021. However, the outlet noted, some of the state laws are currently unable to be enforced due to active court challenges.

Meanwhile, some have moved to make it easier for minors to get the permanent, destructive interventions. 

In Maine, for example, the governor recently signed a law to permit the prescription of cross-sex hormones for children even without parental consent. Last year, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law making his state a “sanctuary” for gender-confused children. The California law ensures that minors can acquire transgender drugs and surgeries and permits state courts to assert custody jurisdiction over children who have been transported to California to undergo gender interventions.