ACLU Sues Ohio over Ban on Transgender Youth Healthcare: A Battle for Constitutional Rights

Lawsuit filed against Ohio over restrictions on health care for transgender youth

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the state over House Bill 68, which is set to become law in less than a month. The lawsuit was filed in partnership with global law firm Goodwin and seeks to block the legislation from going into effect. It is on behalf of two 12-year-old transgender girls and their families, who argue that they would lose critical, medically necessary health care under the bill.

The ACLU has been vocal about its intention to seek legal action against HB 68 for months, stating that the ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth is cruel, scientifically unfounded, and unconstitutional. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that HB 68 violates the Ohio Constitution by breaking the single-subject rule for legislation and discriminating against trans minors. The legislation also prevents them from participating on youth teams that align with their gender identity.

The ACLU cites an amendment backed by GOP lawmakers from over a decade ago as further evidence of the unconstitutionality of HB 68, noting that major American medical associations support puberty blockers and other treatments for trans youth. Rep. Gary Click, who was instrumental in the passage of HB 68, acknowledged the likelihood of a lawsuit and expressed confidence that the legislation would withstand legal challenges.

Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed HB 68 last year, but GOP lawmakers in the Ohio House and Senate voted to override the veto in January. Click pointed to other states where similar laws have been upheld in court as a defense of HB 68. The common pleas court has not yet scheduled a hearing in the case, leaving the fate of the legislation uncertain.

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