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INDIANAPOLIS–The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) for denying gender affirming surgery to a transgender woman who is currently incarcerated.

The ACLU says the IDOC is acting on a new law that passed during the 2023 legislative session, which forces the IDOC to “deny necessary gender-affirming medical care to incarcerated transgender people.”

This complaint is in regard to Autumn Cordellioné, also known as Jonathan Richardson. The ACLU says “in approximately 2020, while in the DOC, she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and was prescribed a female hormone and testosterone blocker, both of which she has consistently been prescribed and taken since that time. Although the hormones have helped to ameliorate the debilitating symptoms of her gender dysphoria, they have not relieved these symptoms entirely insofar as she continues to experience serious depression and anxiety. ”

Richardson is at the Branchville Correctional Facility in Perry County.

The lawsuit says the new law violates the Eighth Amendment because the Supreme Court has ruled that denying necessary medical care for incarcerated people is a violation of the amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

“Medical care related to transgender patients has been found by every reputable medical organization to be necessary and even lifesaving. The courts have consistently found that people who experience gender dysphoria cannot simply be denied care,” said the ACLU of Indiana in a news release Monday.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that HEA 1569 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“The DOC cannot deny necessary treatment to incarcerated people simply on the basis that they are transgender. To do so is a form of discrimination,” said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. “Gender-affirming care is life-saving care. If the legislature can deny a form of healthcare arbitrarily, they could just as easily deny other lifesaving treatments to people who are incarcerated.”

This is the fifth lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Indiana against legislation that was passed during the 2023 session.

“These legislators are not only ignoring their constituents’ values, they are often ignoring legal precedent and opting to pass laws that openly infringe on Hoosiers protected rights. It is not uncommon for us to file a lawsuit or two at the end of each legislative session, but the number of lawsuits we have had to file as a result of harmful legislation passed during the 2023 legislative session is particularly alarming,” said Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana director of advocacy and public policy.

You can read the full complaint here.

The full interview with ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk can be heard below.