Ohio Governor DeWine Takes a Closer Look at Controversial Bill Aimed at Prohibiting Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth


On Friday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he is taking some time to read over testimony for a bill that would stop doctors from treating transgender kids in a way that reinforces their gender identity and stop trans athletes from playing sports for women.

House Bill 68 was passed by both the Ohio House and Senate. It now goes to Governor DeWine to either sign it into law or take it back.

DeWine told reporters on Friday, “I’m taking a hard, hard look at this.”

As of Friday morning, DeWine’s office still didn’t have the bill. When the bill gets to his office, he will have ten days to either sign it or veto it.

It wasn’t meant to take too long, but he said, “I’m going to spend a lot of time, talk to more people, and look at it again.” “This is a big problem. I think that people on both sides of this issue, even though they have very different views, care about children.

What does HB 68 say?

The bill would stop doctors from giving transgender teens gender-affirming care, like hormone treatment and drugs that stop puberty.

Doctors would not be able to do gender transition surgery on minors, but many opponents have said that no Ohio children’s hospital does gender-affirming surgery on kids younger than 18.

A change to the bill adds a “grandfather clause” that lets doctors who have already started treating patients keep that up.

Trans athletes would also not be able to play women’s sports in Ohio if the bill became law.

This is how it works in Ohio: if a trans girl wants to play on a team with cis girls, she has to get hormone treatments for at least a year or show that she doesn’t have any physical or physiological benefits.

Opponents speak out

The bill is not supported by the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association.

Head of the group, Nick Lashutka, said in a statement, “We do not perform any surgeries on minors for the condition of gender dysphoria.” “If this bill becomes law, it will be terrible for kids and their families, who are already very weak. It will also make it impossible for patients to get care from their doctors, which could save their lives.”

The Trevor Project’s 2023 study of the mental health of LGBTQ youth found that almost one in five transgender and nonbinary youth have tried to kill themselves in the past year.

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) wants DeWine to reject the bill.

CEO of GLSEN, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, said in a statement, “This harmful legislation was made specifically to silence LGBTQ+ students, push kids back into the closet, and take away spaces for them to be their authentic selves.”

Lawmakers speak out

A group of Democrats in the Ohio House wrote to DeWine on Thursday to ask him not to sign HB 68 into law.

“The harmful laws are nothing more than Ohioans who are transgender or non-binary being bullied by the state,” the letter said. “If this mean bill that doesn’t take into account science-based evidence becomes law, we’ll make it even more common for transgender and non-binary people to face discrimination, especially transgender youth and their families.”

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