ACLU sues over Indiana law blocking gender-affirming surgery for inmates

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Civil rights advocates are suing Indiana's Department of Corrections over the state's law prohibiting gender-affirming surgery for inmates.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit against the department in federal court in Evansville on Monday.

The lawsuit alleges that the law enacted in April violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The ACLU maintains that transgender surgery can be lifesaving. Health experts have found that gender dysphoria, or a sense of unease about one's gender identity, can lead to depression, anxiety and an increased risk of suicide.

A spokesperson for the corrections department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb also signed a bill in April prohibiting minors from accessing gender-affirming care such as transgender surgeries or medication. The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit challenging that law, as well.