Gov. Holcomb signs bill banning gender-affirming care into law

ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the ban
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb presents his proposed state spending plan during an announcement in...
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb presents his proposed state spending plan during an announcement in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Holcomb's proposal comes as the Republican-dominated Legislature is set to start its 2023 session on Monday, with its primary business being the adoption of a new two-year state budget.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 1:32 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors in the Hoosier state into law on Wednesday.

Holcomb had until Wednesday to either sign or veto the bill, or allow it to become law by doing nothing. According to our sister station WTHR in Indianapolis, he elected to sign it.

That means the ban will take effect July 1. Starting on that date, trans youth under the age of 18 will be prohibited from accessing hormone replacement therapies, puberty blockers, and surgeries in the state.

Trans youth currently taking medication to transition will have until the end of the year to stop doing so.

“Permanent gender-changing surgeries with lifelong impacts and medically prescribed preparation for such a transition should occur as an adult, not as a minor,” Holcomb said in a statement. “There has and will continue to be debate within the medical community about the best ways to provide physical and mental health care for adolescents who are struggling with their own gender identity, and it is important that we recognize and understand those struggles are real. With all of that in mind, I have decided to sign SB 480 into law.”

The bill won approval by wide margins in both the House and Senate. Indiana joins at least 12 other states that have restricted or banned such care.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of four transgender youth and their families, as well as a doctor and health care clinic, challenging the ban.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, alleges that Senate Bill 480 violates the U.S. Constitution on multiple fronts, including the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the law violates the federal requirements of the Medicaid Act and the Affordable Care Act, because it prohibits essential medical services that would otherwise be authorized and reimbursed by Medicaid.

“This is a devastating development for transgender youth in Indiana and heartbreaking for all of us who love and support them,” said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director, in a statement issued shortly after the bill was signed into law. “Indiana politicians continue to fail trans youth, so it is up to each and every one of us to rise against their ignorance and surround these young people with strength, safety, and love. In addition to targeting an already vulnerable group, this law blatantly disregards the rights of parents and families to make decisions about their children’s health. The ACLU is dedicated to overturning this unconstitutional law and is confident the state will find itself completely incapable of defending it in court.”

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