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ACLU Sues Over State Law Barring Sex Change Surgery For Inmates

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued Indiana on Monday over the state’s law passed in July 2023 that prevents sex-change surgery for inmates, according to the Associated Press.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) on behalf of Jonathan C. Richardson, claiming that the state violated the 14th and Eighth Amendments by denying “medical procedures” to inmates based on gender identity, AP reported. Richardson is currently serving 55 years in prison for murdering his 11-month-old step-daughter in 2001, according to court records.

“Indiana Code § 11-10-3-3.5(a), denies medically necessary surgical care, including vaginoplasties and orchiectomies, to transgender prisoners because of their status as transgender persons,” ACLU said in the lawsuit. “This unwarranted and intentional discrimination against Plaintiff and other transgender prisoners, because of their transgender status, violates equal protection.”

The lawsuit claimed that sex reassignment surgery is “lifesaving” for those who experience gender dysphoria, according to the AP. The ACLU asserted that individuals with gender dysphoria who do not receive surgery will succumb to anxiety and depression, and may eventually commit suicide because of their emotional distress.

Indiana prosecutors charged Richardson with the murder of his 11-month-old stepdaughter in October 2002, after police discovered evidence that he had strangled her to death when he was left to watch her alone in September 2001, according to court documents. He initially claimed that he had found the girl dead in her crib, but later told an officer that, “well all I know is I killed the little f***ing b***h.”

Richardson has been in a men’s incarceration prison since 2002 and is set to have a clemency hearing with the Indiana Paroles Department in Septembe, according to court documents. He currently goes by the name “Autumn Cordellioné,” and began receiving medicine for hormone replacement in 2020 when he first claimed to be experiencing gender dysphoria, the IndyStar reported.

Richardson applied for sex-change documents in August 2022, but the court denied his request after he failed to appear for a hearing regarding the case, according to court records. He allegedly attempted suicide, engages in self-harm and experiences severe emotional distress because he cannot transition, the lawsuit claimed.

Indiana law prohibits the state from funding surgeries, but does not prevent inmates from receiving hormone-replacement medicine.

The IDOC declined to comment further on the matter. The ACLU did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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