Governance, Health Supreme Court, Gender Ideology
December 4th, 2023 3 Minute Read Press Release

New Amicus Brief: Affirming Biology is Not Child Abuse

The state cannot remove children from their parents over disagreements about gender identity

New York, NY – The Manhattan Institute has joined an amicus brief supporting parental rights and requesting the Supreme Court to take up the case known as M.C. & J.C. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services. Ilya Shapiro, director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute, summarizes and analyzes the case:

"The state of Indiana decided to remove an adolescent child suffering from confusion about his gender identity from his mother and father. Parents M.C. and J.C. were accused of and investigated for abuse and neglect in their treatment of their son, A.C. On that basis, the court removed him from their custody and prevented them from speaking to him about his gender identity outside of psychological therapy sessions. Months later, the Department of Child Services agreed to withdraw and expunge its abuse and neglect claims and proceed under a different part of the child protection law. Nonetheless, its decision, which the appellate court upheld, was that it was in A.C.’s best interest to remain separated from his parents. This is at least the second case where this pattern seems to have occurred: an initial claim of abuse or neglect that is later dropped, yet the court continues the child’s separation from his or her parents on the grounds that doing so is in the child’s best interest.

"The appellate court said that M.C. and J.C.’s son’s continued removal from their home is necessary to provide 'the family with the structure and support they need to enable them to learn to deal constructively with their disagreement regarding Child’s transgender identity.' In practice, then, M.C. and J.C. can do nothing to regain custody of their son but change their attitude towards his newfound gender identity. Hard cases make bad law, as the saying goes. But this is not a hard case. Instead, because there are no claims of abuse or neglect, this Court has the opportunity to state the principle clearly that a disagreement between parents and their child about his or her claimed gender identity does not warrant state intervention.

"MI has joined an amicus brief supporting the parents and urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case. We argue that the Indiana courts’ rulings were inconsistent with precedent regarding parental, Free Speech, and Free Exercise rights. Fundamentally, parents should be able to make decisions about what is best for their children, especially when the stakes are so high. These are complicated issues and parents have a right to plant their feet on the ground rather than allowing themselves to be swept along by whatever critical theory is asserted by the state."

- Ilya Shapiro is director of constitutional studies and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Please direct media inquiries to press officer Nicolas Abouchedid at


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