ACLU files lawsuit against Ohio for alleged ‘unconstitutional’ bans on trans athletes and healthcare

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken legal action against the state of Ohio in an effort to stop a law that prohibits gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, aims to halt the implementation of this law before it becomes effective next month.

The organization has filed a complaint in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, challenging a provision in House Bill 68. This provision restricts Ohio’s children’s hospitals from offering treatments such as gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy to transgender minors. The ACLU has taken legal action on behalf of two families whose children may lose access to their healthcare.

Freda Levenson, Legal Director at the ACLU of Ohio, emphasized the importance of keeping personal medical decisions in the hands of families and doctors rather than politicians. She asserted that the ACLU will take legal action to protect the rights of trans youth and their parents to access vital healthcare without interference from the government.

The ACLU has filed a complaint seeking the court’s intervention to invalidate H.B. 68 prior to its enactment on April 24. According to the ACLU, the legislation violates multiple 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 Statehouse voted to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of the legislation, leading to a legal challenge. Gov. DeWine had rejected the bill after personally visiting children’s hospitals and advocating for parents to have the final say in such decisions, rather than the government.

According to Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery), the main proponent of H.B. 68, gender-affirming care is considered an “experiment.” He has consistently maintained the stance that children lack the ability to give informed consent for such risky and life-altering decisions.

According to Click, the complaint is not surprising and is to be expected, and he believes that H.B. 68 was crafted with the intention of being impervious to legal challenges. He expressed his complete trust in the abilities of the attorney general to defend this legislation, which he considers to be a matter of common sense.

Click acknowledged that filing the lawsuit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas may not be the most favorable option for supporters of H.B. 68. However, he remains optimistic, stating that there is an appeals process in place. He anticipates that the case will eventually reach the Supreme Court, where it will be heard. In the end, Click believes that the law is on their side.

According to Click, the lawsuit is frivolous because there is no constitutional right to sterilize, harm, or mutilate children. Click is confident that both science and the law support their position and that they will ultimately succeed.

Gender-affirming care has the support of various reputable medical associations in the United States. These include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association. The ACLU argues that going against this medical consensus is an instance of “government overreach.” Moreover, the ACLU pledges to restore the right of Ohio families to make personal medical decisions in consultation with healthcare providers rather than politicians.

“Families are now facing an incredibly tough choice – whether to leave the state they consider their home in order to safeguard their children or to deny them the necessary care that both they and their doctors believe is essential,” expressed Chase Strangio, the Deputy Director for Transgender Justice at the ACLU.

DeWine received significant backlash from prominent Republicans, who urged the Statehouse to override his veto. Former President Donald Trump expressed his disapproval in a post on Truth Social, stating that DeWine “has succumbed to the Radical Left.”

In an effort to calm the criticism, the governor took action by signing an executive order in January. This order prohibits medical professionals in Ohio from carrying out gender transition surgery on transgender youth. DeWine explained that he implemented this order partly in anticipation of a potential lawsuit against H.B. 68.

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