Judge extends halt against Ohio's trans athlete, healthcare ban

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Franklin County judge has extended a temporary block against a law banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth, as Attorney General Dave Yost is challenging the judge in the Ohio Supreme Court.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook extended the temporary restraining order on Tuesday to block House Bill 68 through May 20, after initially halting the measure for two weeks on April 16. The legislation would prohibit Ohio’s children’s hospitals from providing treatment like hormone therapy to trans minors and was originally set to take effect on April 24.

Tuesday’s extension comes shortly after Yost filed an emergency motion with the Ohio Supreme Court on April 22, arguing that Holbrook “overstepped his judicial authority” when he issued the initial two-week restraining order. Yost argues Holbrook “acted beyond the scope of his power” because the law contains several other provisions beyond gender-affirming care, like also banning trans athletes’ participation in women’s sports.

“One judge from one county does not have more power than the governor’s veto pen,” Yost said, asking the state’s Supreme Court to “narrow the injunction and order Holbrook to act within the limits of his judicial authority.”

Yost said it was “illegal” for Holbrook to place the entire law on hold when “the plaintiffs in the case include just two families who are affected by only certain medical provisions of the law.” The attorney general’s office also argued “judicial rules for common pleas courts state that preliminary injunctions can be broad only enough to protect the plaintiffs in a case.”

The restraining order follows a lawsuit by the ACLU against the measure filed in March on behalf of two families whose children are at risk of losing access to their healthcare. The legal challenge came after the Statehouse overrode Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of the legislation. DeWine decided to reject the bill after visiting several children’s hospitals, arguing “parents should make these decisions and not the government.”

The ACLU had previously argued H.B. 68’s multiple provisions are what make the law unconstitutional. The organization said the law violates the Ohio Constitution’s single-subject rule, requiring bills to only be about one topic. The two measures had been separate bills before Ohio House legislators combined them in June last year.

“It is not lost upon this court that the general assembly was unable to pass the [gender-affirming care] portion of the act separately, and it was only upon the logrolling in the [women’s sports] provisions that it was able to pass,” said Holbrook in his April 16 ruling.

https://www.wkbn.com/news/ohio/judge-extends-halt-against-ohios-trans-athlete-healthcare-ban/ Judge extends halt against Ohio's trans athlete, healthcare ban

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