ACLU plans lawsuit to block transgender health care ban

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(The Center Square) – The ACLU of Ohio announced Monday it plans to file a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors that will go in place in late April following the General Assembly’s vote to override the veto of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

The Republican-majority Senate easily voted Wednesday, 23-9, to override the veto. The chamber needed only 20 votes to make the health care ban and create single-sex sports teams in the state law.

Needing only 59 votes, the Republican-majority House voted 65-28 on Jan. 10 to override the veto of House Bill 68. Without a judicial ruling to stop it, it becomes law April 23.

HB68 blocks gender-affirming care for minors, including surgeries, puberty blockers, and hormone therapy.

“We are preparing litigation to defend transgender youth and their constitutional right to receive medically necessary health care,” said Freda Levenson, legal director at the ACLU of Ohio. “The use of gender-affirming hormone therapy to treat transgender minors is supported by every major medical association in our country. Transgender youth, together with their doctors and parents, should have access to evidence-based medical care just like anyone else. Families should be able to make these private, personal decisions based on the advice of their physicians, and free from interference by politicians. HB68 is not only cruel; it violates the Ohio Constitution and must be challenged.”

The ACLU said hormone therapy to treat gender dysphoria in youth is evidence-based, medically necessary, and backed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Ohio’s law is an unconscionable attack on transgender youth and their families,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU. “Gender-affirming health care is safe, effective, and necessary. We are prepared to go to court and defend the rights and dignity of transgender youth with every tool available.”

DeWine issued the veto in late December and a week later issued an executive order that banned transgender surgeries on minors and developed transgender health care rules for children and adults.

The rules include protections for adults and children receiving transgender care in the state hospitals that would stop what DeWine called “fly-by-night” providers or clinics giving out medications without quality care.

They would also require multi-disciplinary teams at hospitals to provide support care, including psychiatrists and a comprehensive plan of the risks associated with the treatment and required mental health counseling.

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