The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the state of Montana over a bill recently signed into law by the governor banning child sex changes. The lawsuit alleges that the bill, signed on April 28, violates the Montana Constitution which states "No person shall be denied equal protection of the laws."
"The new law provides commonsense protections for Montana children - who can't even enter into contracts or buy cigarettes or alcohol - from harmful, life-altering medications and surgeries. This lawsuit is an attempt by a leftist organization to push their radical, fact-free gender ideology on Montanans and circumvent the lawmaking process since they didn’t get their way in the election," said Attorney General Austin Knudsen spokeswoman Emily Flower.
"The Act, on its face and as applied, denies patients equal protection of the laws on the basis of their gender identity, transgender status, and sex. It discriminates on the basis of gender identity, which is also a form of discrimination on the basis of sex," the lawsuit alleges.
The ACLU claims that the bill targets transgender people, "and only transgender people," because it prohibits medicalized gender transitions of minors.
"The Act treats similarly situated groups differently because the same medical treatments that are prohibited when provided to transgender adolescents to help align their bodies with their gender identity may be provided to cisgender adolescents for any other purpose," the lawsuit states.
In the case of puberty blockers, these drugs are not FDA-approved for the use of treating gender dysphoria, and were instead created to treat precocious puberty, or when a child hits puberty too soon.
Restrictions on medical treatments as well as the promotion of items such as binders, "serve no legitimate purpose," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also alleges that the bill interferes with parental rights, citing the Montana Constitution which states, "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
The lawsuit states that the Montana Supreme Court has recognized that this provision protects "the fundamental right of a parent to make decisions regarding the care of their children, including, among other things, the ‘upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their children.’"
This fundamental right of parents, the ACLU states, includes the right of parents to seek irreversible surgeries and hormones for their children.
"The Act does nothing to protect the health or well-being of minors. To the contrary, it gravely threatens the health and well-being of adolescents with gender dysphoria by denying their parents the ability to obtain lifesaving care for them," the lawsuit states.
The ACLU also claims that the bill violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, violating the Montana Constitution which states that the right of individual privacy is essential to a free society and "shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest."
The bill violates the patients’ privacy by limiting their ability to seek sex change treatments, and "The Act intrudes upon the private relationship between a patient and a health care provider."
The lawsuit claims that the state also violated the plaintiffs’ right to seek health, the plaintiffs’ right to dignity, and freedom of speech and expression.
The lawsuit seeks to have the bill declared unconstitutional, have the defendants enjoined from enforcing the bill, and have attorney’s fees paid.
The ACLU has brought forth several lawsuits against states that have banned child sex changes, including Indiana. The ACLU has also threatened to sue the state of Tennessee for passing a similar bill.
The lawsuit was brought forth by plaintiffs Scarlet van Garderen, who is 16 and transgender, alongside guardians Jessica van Garderen and Ewout van Garderen, transgender 15-year-old Phoebe Cross and guardians Milly and Paul Cross, Co-Director of the Gender Clinic at Seattle Children’s at Community Medical Center Dr. Juanita Hodax, and Dr. Katherine Mistretta against the state of Montana, Governor Gregory Gianforte, Attorney General Austin Knudsen, the Montana Board of Medical Examiners, the Montana Board of Nursing, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, and DPHHS Director Charlie Brereton.
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