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The ACLU is suing the state of Ohio over a law that prohibits gender transition surgeries and hormone blockers for minors. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two 12-year-old transgender girls and their families, seeks to block the law from taking effect on April 24. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has stated that his office will defend the law, arguing that it is necessary to protect children and uphold the constitution. The state’s medical board has declined to comment on the pending litigation. In addition to banning gender-affirming medical procedures for minors, the law also prohibits biological men who identify as transgender women from participating in women’s sports.

The ACLU contends that the ban on these medical procedures will cause severe harm to transgender youth and should be a private decision between families and doctors, not politicians. The lawsuit argues that the law is unconstitutional because it combines two unrelated bills and violates the single-subject rule in Ohio’s constitution. The ACLU also states that denying gender-affirming hormone therapy and other medical interventions to transgender youth can lead to worsening symptoms of gender dysphoria and mental health issues. The lawsuit emphasizes the importance of providing these treatments to minors to prevent distressing physical changes that may not align with their gender identity.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine vetoed the bill initially, citing concerns about protecting human life. However, the veto was overridden by Ohio Republicans in January. DeWine had consulted with healthcare professionals and families with transgender children before making his decision, hearing from advocates of puberty blockers for minors as a crucial form of care. A growing number of conservative states have implemented laws restricting gender transition treatments for minors, with some states going as far as criminalizing such procedures. On the contrary, more liberal states have enacted “shield laws” to protect gender-affirming medical procedures for transgender individuals, including children.

The ACLU’s lawsuit against Ohio is part of a broader legal battle playing out across the country over transgender rights and access to medical care. Some states are taking a more restrictive approach to gender transition treatments, while others are actively working to protect these procedures for transgender individuals. The debate centers on the rights of minors to access necessary medical care and the role of government in regulating these treatments. Ultimately, the outcome of these legal challenges will have significant implications for transgender youth and their families seeking gender-affirming care. The ACLU’s case in Ohio highlights the ongoing struggle to ensure that transgender individuals have access to the medical care they need while also navigating legal and political obstacles.

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