Memphis Hospital Caves to ACLU Legal Threats, Will Resume Transgender Surgeries

According to the Daily Mail, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue a Memphis hospital for filing complaints to the Department of Health and Human Services and to the Office for Civil Rights if the hospital does not resume transgender surgery for patients by the end of 2022. The hospital now says that it is “moving forward” with the surgery before the end.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare was threatened by the ACLU with a lawsuit for Chris Evans, a 19-year-old who had his surgery scheduled for December. The ACLU canceled Evans’ surgery. Evans is said to suffer from gender dysphoria and, according to the ACLU’s lawsuit, his surgery was medically necessary despite the nature being unclear.

“Ending medically essential healthcare for one group of people based upon sex is discrimination, and violates federal law,” stated Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, an ACLU attorney. He added that once they have received a response from the hospital, the group will “evaluate if they need to file a complaint at the Office of Civil Rights.”

The ACLU demanded that surgery be rescheduled no later than December 31, 2022.

Since then, the hospital has responded to requests, apparently granting to those who asked, and stating that the temporary suspension of transgender surgery was temporary. According to Canadian Press, the hospital has not changed its stance on “the treatment of transgender or non-binary patients”.

Rachel Powers, a spokesperson from MLH stated in a statement that “in recent weeks, some care professionals voiced questions about patients who received gender-affirming procedures at a center affiliated with our health system.”

She continued, “This caused a temporary pause in order to review current practices.”

According to new statements, the hospital seems to have restored appointments that were canceled in the past.

“We are confident that the doctors will get the patients rescheduled before the end of the year.”

Neither does the website of MLH list any “transgender surgery” or any other “gender-affirming treatment” in its list of services. Neither does its press page contain any recent statements and press releases. Since November 2022, the hospital’s Twitter account has been inactive and the link to its Facebook page is broken.

According to outlets, the hospital is one of Tennessee’s largest providers of uninsured patients. It serves almost 130,000 Medicaid patients annually.