Ohio Supreme Court refuses to lift block on law banning trans surgeries for minors

A child wearing a rainbow-colored flag.
A child wearing a rainbow-colored flag. | studio-laska/iStock

Ohio's Supreme Court denied the state's request to lift a block on a law banning minors with gender dysphoria from obtaining sex change surgeries and puberty-blocking drugs, in addition to preventing males who identify as female from competing in women's sports. 

The ruling, released Wednesday, means that the enforcement of House Bill 68 remains on hold amid ongoing litigation surrounding the legislation.

Republican Justice Pat DeWine agreed with the decision to deny lifting the block on the bill but stated, "this case raises an important issue: Is it appropriate for one judge in a single county to issue a statewide injunction that goes beyond what is necessary to provide interim relief to the parties in the case?"

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Republican Justices Pat Fischer and Joe Deters concurred with DeWine's opinion. Democratic Justice Jennifer Brunner concurred, asserting that "the state has failed to make the necessary showing to obtain a writ of mandamus or prohibition." 

Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy agreed with part of the opinion, but she "would grant the emergency motion and issue an alternative writ." 

Republican lawmakers passed House Bill 68 last year, with the Ohio Senate later voting 24-8 to override Gov. Mike DeWine's veto of the bill. On March 26, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the law's enactment. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of two families with 12-year-old girls suffering from gender dysphoria, arguing that the bill would "ban critically important treatment."

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook issued a temporary restraining order against House Bill 68 on April 16. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed an emergency motion on April 22 with the state supreme court to stop the restraining order. 

Yost contends that statewide injunctions are "rare" and that a single judge representing one county should not be able to make a decision that impacts the entire state, stressing a single judge "cannot wield more power than a Governor's veto." 

"That extraordinary abuse of judicial power is paired here with an extraordinary need for speed. Starting April 24, the Law would have protected female athletes from the risk to their safety, the affront to their privacy, and the sting to their dignity that the legislature believed would flow from allowing male athletes to annex their playing fields and locker rooms," Yost wrote. 

"Also starting April 24, parents whose consciences would not allow them to participate in transitioning their children to the opposite gender would have been protected from discrimination in judicial proceedings to adjudicate custody," he continued. "Finally, starting April 24, children whose lives may have been forever altered by surgery or cross hormone drugs would have been shielded from those forever decisions until they reach adulthood, when the Law determines they are capable enough to decide for themselves."

Detransitioners like Chloe Cole have warned about the side effects that result from being allowed to transition at a young age. In a lawsuit Cole filed last year against Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, the Permanente Medical Group and affiliated healthcare professionals, the detransitioner accused the medical groups of performing a "mutilating, mimicry sex change experiment" on her when she was only a teen. 

Medical professionals encouraged Cole to undergo a double mastectomy, and she was also prescribed opposite-sex hormones before deciding to detransition.

"My body has been irreversibly damaged, and years later, my chest is still in bandages. My doctors have abandoned me. New doctors look and shrug. As a result, I am suing those professionals who steered me into taking these destructive steps that have permanently scarred me," Cole said during a Disney shareholders meeting last month.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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