Ohio Republicans Move to Ban Trans Kids From Playing Sports or Getting Gender-Affirming Care

Governor Mike DeWine (R) really made this whole situation worse.

Ohio Republicans Move to Ban Trans Kids From Playing Sports or Getting Gender-Affirming Care
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Photo:Shutterstock

A few weeks ago, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) vetoed House Bill 68, which would have banned minors from receiving puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery, and also would have prohibited trans girls from playing school sports. This was not because DeWine wholeheartedly supports trans youth, but because he claimed the law would be government overreach in medical decisions—he then proposed a different set of awful restrictions. Republican state lawmakers were furious that he bucked them and said they’d return early from winter break to override DeWine’s veto.

The House did just that earlier this month, and on Wednesday, the Ohio Senate overrode the veto on their bill by a vote of 23-9. The law, House Bill 68, will take effect in 90 days, barring any legal challenges.

Shortly after Gov. Mike DeWine (R) vetoed the bill in late December, he proposed his own restrictions that go even further than HB 68, including rules that would effectively ban trans adults from getting healthcare. DeWine first signed an executive order that claimed to only ban surgery for minors but still put intense restrictions on getting hormone treatments. He then also directed state agencies to make rules saying that, in order to get any kind of gender-affirming healthcare, minors and adults need a “multi-disciplinary team…including but not limited to an endocrinologist, a bioethicist and a psychiatrist.” (He did not try to revive the sports ban.) So DeWine’s own restrictions are a de facto ban for adults and minors, despite his protestations about a blanket ban being government overreach.

As Kellan Baker, executive director of the LGBTQ healthcare organization the Whitman-Walker Institute, told the Associated Press, “It is a policy project that attempts to make it so onerous, so restrictive to get care, that people are functionally unable to do so.”

Another expert told the AP that gender-affirming care and abortion are the only kinds of medical care where states have moved to ban clinicians from providing care allowed by their licenses. “They don’t follow any standard of care. It is a veil of this false sense of safety that will effectively lead to a ban,” Dr. Carl Streed Jr., president of the U.S. Professional Association for Transgender Health, said.

DeWine proposed these regulations even though the original bill passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Local news reports said DeWine hoped the executive order would stop Republican lawmakers from overriding his veto. It didn’t work, and his executive order is still moving forward along with HB 68. So Ohio is set to become the second state—after Florida—to restrict gender-affirming care for adults. And now transgender and nonbinary Ohioans of all ages are facing even more unnecessary restrictions as a result of DeWine’s pointless gamble.

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