". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


‘Leave Our Children Alone’: ACLU Sues Ohio Law Protecting Kids from Transgenderism

March 28, 2024

A left-wing legal agency has sued the state of Ohio over its policy protecting minors from transgender procedures and barring men from competing in women’s sports. But the law’s proponents say the plaintiffs based the lawsuit on junk science that will lead trans-identifying teens into deeper psychological, and irreparable physical, harm.

The ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit in Ohio’s Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday to stop H.B. 68, which bans the transgender industry from distributing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone injections, or carrying out gender mutilation surgeries on anyone under the age of 18. It also protects women from being forced to compete against men in sports, prevents activist judges from denying or limiting custody to parents who will not “affirm” their child’s transgender identity, and shields Ohio taxpayers from having to fund minors’ transgender procedures via Medicaid.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued Ohio Attorney General David Yost (R) and the State Medical Board of Ohio on behalf of two 12-year-old boys who identify as girls, “Madeline Moe” and “Grace Goe.” Moe received a pubertal suppressing implant at age 11 in early 2023 and will soon begin receiving estrogen shots; Goe’s family fears their boy will not be able to receive puberty-suppressing drugs under the law’s terms.

The bill, which became law after both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly voted to override the veto of Governor Mike DeWine (R), would have gone into effect on April 24. The 33-page legal filing filed by attorneys for the ACLU and powerful global law firm Goodwin Procter LLP, prominently quotes DeWine’s veto claim that “parents have told me that their child would be dead today” without cross-sex hormone infusions.

ACLU Dismisses Health Concerns over Puberty Blockers without Evidence

In its legal brief, the ACLU touts the purportedly “well-documented benefits of gender-affirming medical care.” Puberty blockers are “associated with improved mental health outcomes that include significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, disruptive behaviors, and suicidality and suicidal ideation, as well as improved global [overall] functioning,” claims the ACLU lawsuit.

That’s flat-out wrong, Dr. Quentin Van Meter, a pediatric endocrinologist and board member of the American College of Pediatricians, told The Washington Stand.

“The real, long-term, independent systemic reviews (Cass, NICE, Florida Medicaid) show that mental health is not improved in the long-run, and, in the case of puberty blockers, is made worse. Their legal brief is just a carbon-copy of the same old points they have repeated in every brief they have filed. Repeating things endlessly does not make them true,” Van Meter told TWS.

Some of the organizations who support the ACLU’s agenda know the dangers posed by puberty-suppressing drugs, said Van Meter. “The Endocrine Society published a lead article pointing out the absolute necessity of the pulsatile secretion patterns of native GnRH in prevention of early dementia. Puberty blockers eliminate this pattern,” Van Meter explained. “Michael Biggs’ study from all patients in the U.K. clinics showed definite worsening of mental health with the use of puberty blockers in these patients.”

“A 2021 comprehensive data review of all 3,754 trans-identified adolescents in US military families over 8.5 years showed that cross-sex hormone treatment leads to increased use of mental health services and psychiatric medications, and increased suicidal ideation/attempted suicide,” said a report from the American College of Pediatricians. “When transgender-identifying adolescents who were using gender-affirming pharmaceuticals (963) were evaluated separately, their use of mental health care services did not change but their use of psychotropic medications did increase.”

The ACLU also states, “On its own, puberty-delaying treatment does not permanently affect fertility.” Yet its legal brief quotes the Endocrine Society Guideline for administering puberty blockers to minors, which requires that children must first be “informed of the effects and side effects of treatment (including potential loss of fertility if the individual subsequently continues with sex hormone treatment) and options to preserve fertility.”

The “use of puberty blockers during the proper age for puberty is not yet proven to be reversible in terms of fertility, because no studies have been done, and 98% of patients with gender identity issues who are placed on puberty blockers during puberty go on to cross sex hormones,” Van Meter noted, “so all bets are off.” He highlighted the medical finding that “bone density deficits occur and can’t be retrieved.”

ACLU Relies on Controversial WPATH Guidelines

Critics say the lawsuit discredits itself by basing its medical findings on a dubious document that refutes the legal team’s claims. The ACLU lawsuit relies, in part, on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)’s Standards of Care Version 8 (SOC-8). That document became the source of “The WPATH Files,” a leak of internal WPATH documents by the progressive organization Environmental Progress. The private deliberations of SOC-8 portray the trans activists who crafted the WPATH Standards of Care as fully “aware of the debilitating and potentially fatal side effects of cross-sex hormones and other treatments” and “patients with severe mental health issues, such as schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder, and other vulnerabilities such as homelessness, are being allowed to consent to hormonal and surgical interventions,” Van Meter told TWS. 

“The WPATH Files explain that all eight iterations of their so-called standards of care were based on wishful thinking and theories not borne out by science — this admission coming from within the WPATH house of cards,” wrote Van Meter in an email sent Wednesday night to TWS. “WPATH’s SOC-8 has been pulled from their website; that should speak volumes. WPATH went off the rails in SOC-8. Their membership has decreased by 60% during the time this document was being written and revised.”

Even if the document had been well-grounded, the WPATH SOC-8 confesses “the number of studies” that informed it “is still low, and there are few outcome studies that follow youth into adulthood.”

Doctor: The Transgender Industry Relies on Flawed, Low-Quality Studies

Many of those studies contain procedural flaws, Van Meter said. “The published papers suggesting benefit to mental health with use of puberty blockers were based on convenience sampling from anonymous surveys. Such data prove nothing and should never have been published in the first place, since they can’t ever show cause and effect,” he told TWS.

In the fine print, the transgender industry’s “expert witnesses concede that the quality of evidence is ‘low’ or ‘very low’ using GRADE, but insist that other treatments in pediatrics are also based on low/very low quality evidence,” wrote Leon Sapir, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Sapir cited the opinion of U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, a Clinton appointee, who asserted in last June’s Dekker v. Weida case that “the fact that research-generated evidence supporting these treatments gets classified as ‘low’ or ‘very low’ quality on the GRADE scale does not mean … that [transgender procedures] should not be provided.”

The ACLU legal brief makes numerous other controversial assertions, as well. “‘Sex assigned at birth’ or ‘sex designated at birth’ are more precise than the term ‘biological sex,’” says the ACLU lawsuit. “Most boys are designated male at birth based on their external genital anatomy, and most girls are designated female at birth.”

The ACLU also believes gender identity cannot be changed. “Transgender people have obvious, immutable, and distinguishing characteristics,” the ACLU states. “A person’s gender identity cannot be altered voluntarily or changed through medical intervention.”

Distributing puberty blockers, administering cross-sex hormone injections, and carrying out transgender surgery “is not experimental,” the ACLU filing claims, because “decades of studies … supporting the benefits of gender affirming care” have made these interventions “the standard of care for gender dysphoria.”

‘Leave Our Children Alone’: Ohio Residents

Critics say the lawsuit reveals the depths of the radical Left’s desperation and despair over its inability to win over American adults to their position. “The ACLU cannot win this medical or political debate, so they’re attempting to force their ideological agenda on Ohio children through the courts,” said Aaron Baer, president of the Center for Christian Virtue, which is based in Columbus. “The ACLU needs to leave our children alone. Ohio girls deserve a fair playing field, and our children should be free to grow up without dangerous transgender medical experimentation.”

Prominent officials who supported H.B. 68 promised to stand between the transgender industry and Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens. “As I promised during the veto override, my office will defend this constitutional statute,” vowed Attorney General Yost. “I am confident this lawsuit will fail.” The bill’s prime sponsor, state Rep. Gary Click (R), who also serves as a Baptist pastor, said he has “complete faith in Ohio Attorney General David Yost’s ability to defend the SAFE Act.”

“It is insane to suggest that allowing children to grow up intact is cruel. The law is on our side. The science is on our side,” said Click, noting that minors “are incapable of providing informed consent to such dangerous and permanent procedures.”

ACLU Claims It’s Protecting Parents’ Rights, Fighting Sex Discrimination

The lawsuit raises four objections to the law. The ACLU, which has filed innumerable lawsuits against parental notification laws, also claims it is trying to overturn child protections to safeguard “the fundamental rights of parents.”

The ACLU claims H.B. 68 violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause by saying it “expressly discriminates against transgender adolescents, including Minor Plaintiffs, based on their sex.” Since “puberty-delaying medication is commonly used to treat central precocious puberty,” banning their use for minor gender “transition” violates laws preventing sexual discrimination, the ACLU states. “Specifically, it discriminates against them based on their sex designated at birth” and “their failure to conform to stereotypes and expected behavior associated with their sex designated at birth.”

The ACLU lawsuit raises a technical objection that, by claiming by fusing the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act and the Save Women’s Sports Act into one bill, H.B. 68 violated the Ohio Constitution’s single-subject provision. “The Ohio legislature unnaturally combined restrictions on interscholastic sports participation, originally contained in H.B. 6, with a ban on gender-affirming care,” the brief states. The bill’s supporters said the bill respected the one-subject rule by protecting women and children from extreme gender ideologues.

Since the ACLU considers transgender procedures for minors “health care,” the lawyers claim H.B. 68 runs afoul of Article I, Section 21 of the Ohio Constitution, which states, “No federal, state, or local law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of Health Care or health insurance.”

A total of 10 attorneys representing the ACLU and Goodwin Procter LLP signed the legal brief, written primarily by the ACLU’s Freda J. Levenson. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson represented abortion industry lobby groups — including NARAL Pro-Choice America, the League of Women Voters, and the Abortion Access Project of Massachusetts — during the time she worked for Goodwin Procter’s Boston office. One of the ACLU’s five attorneys is Chase Strangio, a woman who began to identify as male in the late 2000s at Northwestern University’s School of Law.

Despite the legal firepower trained on the Ohio state Capitol, the bill’s sponsors are confident they will prevail.

“I don’t think that they stand much of a chance,” said Click.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.