Attorney General Aaron Frey Joins Coalition to Protect Access to Gender-Affirming Care

December 9, 2022


Contact: Danna Hayes




Attorney General Aaron Frey Joins Coalition to Protect Access to Gender-Affirming Care 


13 Attorneys General File an Amicus Brief to Fight Healthcare Discrimination Against Transgender People 


AUGUSTA –Attorney General Aaron Frey has joined a coalition of 13 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the case of Fain v. Crouch supporting efforts to promote equal access to healthcare in West Virginia. The plaintiffs, two transgender individuals, are unable to obtain Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgical care by the West Virginia State Medicaid Program. 


“West Virgina’s refusal to provide transgender patients the care they need is not only illegal discrimination, it is unconscionable,” said Attorney General Frey. “We cannot allow states to deny healthcare for political reasons when people’s lives are on the line.” 


The brief — filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit — argues for the court to affirm a lower court ruling which determined that the West Virginia State Medicaid Program’s denial of medically necessary, gender-affirming surgical care violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The coalition of attorneys general note that it has been shown through Supreme Court rulings and other cases that discrimination against transgender people violates the Equal Protection Clause because it constitutes discrimination based on sex. The amicus brief also shows that the exclusion does not save governmental insurance programs significant amounts of money and that it is not justified by protecting the public from an ineffective medical treatment. The attorneys general note that their experience shows gender-affirming treatment improves well-being at minimal cost. 


The brief also notes the efforts that states joining the filing have made to protect transgender healthcare rights and the benefits of these policies. Many of the other joining states have also adopted policies ensuring access to gender-affirming care for their residents. The brief notes that these policies have categorically improved the well-being of trans people, reducing the risk of suicide, substance abuse, and depression, while not meaningfully increasing premium costs. 


Joining Attorney General Frey in filing the brief are the attorneys general of Delaware, Illinois,  Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.