ACLU sues states over gender-affirming care bans

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to take legal action against recent transgender care bans in Idaho and Indiana. 

On April 4, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed House Bill 71, effectively banning transgender minors under 18 from receiving hormone therapy, puberty blockers and gender confirmation surgery. Physicians who prescribe these therapies can be charged with a felony and face up to 10 years in prison. 

The ACLU of Idaho shared plans to sue the state in an April 5 news release, alleging the law violates families' rights to make their own healthcare decisions. 

"For any individuals directly impacted, we seek partnership as we challenge this law in court," said Leo Morales, executive director of the state's ACLU. "We will sue to stop this harmful and unconstitutional law."

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a similar bill into law on April 5. Senate Bill 480 prohibits physicians from knowingly providing gender-affirming care to minors under age 18, or from aiding or abetting another provider in doing so. 

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit April 5 on behalf of four transgender youth and their families. Under Senate Bill 480, the children will lose access to the care they are already receiving within six months of July 1. 

Catherine Bast, MD, and Mosaic Health and Healing Arts — her family medicine practice for LGBT individuals in Goshen, Ind. — are also plaintiffs in the case. 

The lawsuit alleges the measure violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, as well as the federal requirements of the Medicaid Act and the Affordable Care Act.

"Studies show that when gender dysphoria is treated with gender affirming care, the risk of self-harming behaviors, including suicide, diminishes,” said Mixhi Marquis, executive director of Mosaic Health and Healing Arts, in an April 5 news release from the ACLU. "When politicians require us to deny essential lifesaving care, they ignore science and instead mandate harm and endanger lives." 

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