Ohio Families File Lawsuit Challenging Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Transgender Youth

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
March 26, 2024 3:22 pm

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COLUMBUS- Today, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, and the global law firm Goodwin filed a lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional enactment of House Bill 68, and specifically, a discriminatory provision in H.B. 68 that bans gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. The organizations filed this lawsuit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of two families whose children are at risk of losing critical, medically necessary healthcare. The lawsuit asks the court to strike down H.B. 68 before the law is set to take effect on April 24, 2024.

House Bill 68 violates four sections of the Ohio Constitution including the single-subject rule, the Health Care provision, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Course of Law provision.

“The ban on gender-affirming care will cause severe harm to transgender youth. These personal, private medical decisions should remain between families and doctors; they don’t belong to politicians. H.B. 68 violates the Ohio Constitution in multiple ways. We will fight in court to ensure that trans youth and their parents can access critically important, lifesaving healthcare without government intrusion,” said Freda Levenson, Legal Director at the ACLU of Ohio.

“We refuse to allow lawmakers to move forward with these cruel restrictions that directly harm transgender young people. Families are now confronted with the extremely difficult decision of fleeing the state they call home to protect their children or allowing them to go without the care they and their doctors know is right for them. H.B. 68 is government overreach point blank, and we are determined to reinstate Ohio families’ right to make personal medical decisions with healthcare providers – not politicians,” added Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice at the ACLU.

“HB 68’s restrictions on medical care for the transgender youth community not only defy medical consensus and expert judgment but eliminates a parent or caregiver’s fundamental right to make critical, informed healthcare decisions for them. Goodwin is proud to support the ACLU on this vital matter,” said Allison DeLaurentis and Miranda Hooker, partners in Goodwin’s Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice.

Gender-affirming care is lifesaving healthcare used to treat those with gender dysphoria, a practice supported by major medical associations nationwide, including but not limited to: the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.

Ohio is the 23rd state to ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, highlighting a nationwide political trend attacking LGBTQ+ rights by stripping away healthcare protections and undermining the right to bodily autonomy. In addition to H.B. 68, additional state restrictions are being imposed on trans youth through rules proposed by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The plaintiffs are requesting the court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent enforcement of House Bill 68 and to declare the gender-affirming care ban unconstitutional.

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