ACLU sues Arizona for not covering gender-confirming surgery

Jan 25, 2019, 4:00 PM
(Unsplash Photo)...
(Unsplash Photo)
(Unsplash Photo)

PHOENIX – The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona for excluding gender-confirming surgery from its health insurance plan.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of Dr. Russell B. Toomey, a University of Arizona associate professor, and “all other transgender individuals employed by the Arizona Board of Regents or enrolled in the state health plan,” the ACLU said in a website post.

“I filed this lawsuit because I have been unable to access a medically necessary procedure as a result of the state’s discriminatory health plan,” Toomey said in the post.

“I do not want any other transgender employee or dependent, current or future, to suffer with anxiety in the way that I have because of this policy.”

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to remove the health plan’s “discriminatory” exclusion of gender reassignment surgery, saying it “lacks any rational basis and is grounded in sex stereotypes, discomfort with gender nonconformity and gender transition, and moral disapproval of people who are transgender.”

The ACLU said the plan violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“Many transgender people are prescribed transition-related surgery to treat their gender dysphoria and help them live authentically,” ACLU attorney Joshua Block said in the post. “In some cases, transition-related surgery can be life-saving.

“Arizona’s current health plan unfairly covers many of the same procedures for cisgender employees, but unlawfully singles out transgender employees for unequal treatment.”

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ACLU sues Arizona for not covering gender-confirming surgery