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K.C. v. Medical Licensing Board of Indiana

Location: Indiana
Status: Ongoing
Last Update: May 23, 2024

What's at Stake

Four Hoosier families, joined by medical providers, are challenging an Indiana law passed in April 2023 barring access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Indiana is home to over 4,000 transgender adolescents and the health care targeted by this law is supported by the entire mainstream of the medical community.

In April 2023, Indiana passed SB 480 into law, prohibiting health care professionals from providing or even referring transgender people under 18 for gender-affirming health care. This care is broadly supported by medical organizations and laws like SB 480 are opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

On April 5, 2023, the ACLU and the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of four Hoosier families with transgender youth and Dr. Catherine Bast, medical director at Mosaic Health & Healing Arts. The plaintiff families will be denied the gender-affirming care their children are currently receiving, as well as future care, if Senate Bill 480 is allowed to take effect on July 1, 2023.

The lawsuit, first filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that Senate Bill 480 violates the U.S. Constitution on multiple fronts, including the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the law violates the federal requirements of the Medicaid Act and the Affordable Care Act, because it prohibits essential medical services that would otherwise be authorized and reimbursed by Medicaid.

Two of the parent-plaintiffs, Beth and Nathanial Clawson, note that their plaintiff daughter, currently 10 years old, is fearful about what will happen to her if she cannot get gender-affirming medical care when puberty begins.

“Starting around the age of two years old, our daughter began telling us who she is,” said Beth Clawson. “When she was three-and-a-half years old, after researching gender dysphoria and consulting with both her therapist and pediatrician, she socially transitioned. That means we started using she/her pronouns and letting her dress as a girl. That was seven years ago, and she hasn’t wavered at all in knowing who she is.”

“As her parents, the most important thing to us is that she knows that we love her, trust her, and will do whatever it takes to ensure that she has every opportunity to grow and develop as her true self regardless of her gender identity,” added Nathaniel Clawson. “Laws that ban her ability to access gender-affirming care take that opportunity away from her.”

UPDATE 2/29/24: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay lifting the lower court’s injunction blocking Indiana’s gender-affirming care ban, allowing the law to take effect.


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