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Ohio Governor Vetoes Ban on Gender-Affirming Care, Sports Participation

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine canceled a bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for minors, breaking with the precedent of his fellow Republican governors and also preserving such care for residents outside from his state, because families of transgender youth who live in banned states I traveled to Ohio for treatment.

Republicans, who have a large majority in the Legislature, could override DeWine’s veto and respond.

“This bill would impact a very small number of Ohio children. But for children facing gender dysphoria, the consequences of this bill could not be more profound. Ultimately, I think it’s about protecting human life,” DeWine said Friday at a news conference announcing the decision. “Many parents have told me that their child would not have survived and would have died today if they had not received the treatment they received at one of Ohio’s children’s hospitals. »

“These are heartbreaking decisions that should be made by parents and should be informed by the teams of doctors who advise them,” DeWine continued. “If I were to sign Bill 68, or if Bill 68 became law, Ohio would say that the state, that the government knows better what is medically best for a child than the two people who like the most this child: parents.”

Hundreds of anti-trans bills have been passed by dozens of state legislatures across the country. Nearly half of the nation’s states have passed laws targeting transgender people, including states bordering Ohio. Many of these bills ban gender-affirming care for minors and restrict trans girls’ participation in school sports; DeWine said he did not consider that provision in the Ohio bill.

Ohio’s Saving Adolescents From Experimentation Act, or SAFE Act, would have banned hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery for people under 18. The measure also would have banned transgender girls from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams in high schools and colleges, known as the Save Women’s Sports Act. Its sponsor, state Rep. Gary Click (R), said the measure was not about “culture wars” but about “medical ethics.”

Click’s office told the Washington Post that if he vetoed it, he would ask the Legislature to override the veto.

DeWine said that even if he vetoed the bill, he directed his administration to begin work on administrative rules “to establish important protections for Ohio’s children and adults” on that question. We hope this will prevent the veto from being overridden, he said.

Ohio lawmakers sent the bill to DeWine this month after heated debates between legislators. Supporters argued that the measure focused on the well-being of children; Opponents argued that the bill was not supported by science and, in turn, could cause more harm than good.

Hundreds of people have testified at hearings on the bill this year, including 87 at a state Senate committee hearing in early December that stretched beyond 11 p.m. The majority of them testified against the bill, and many of those who supported the ban came from out of state to testify.

The bill passed the Ohio Senate 24-8 and the House 61-27, largely along partisan lines in Republican-controlled chambers, joining more than 20 states that have adopted similar restrictions over the past two years.

Rick Colby, an Ohio resident, broke party lines in May to testify against the bill as a Republican. Her adult son is transgender and has received gender-affirming care in the state, Colby told The Post this week, calling the bill an “eyesore” and adding that it suggests a disparity among the ability of Ohioans to care for their trans children. .

While minors already receiving gender-affirming care would have been allowed to continue, other parents “would be criminals if they sought care for their child after the bill took effect.” It’s crazy,” Colby said, suggesting the governor instead consider creating a commission to study the issue. “This is not a partisan issue. This is a question that transcends politics. … Get all the right people together, parents and even supporters of the bill, get them all together. Then hold public meetings.

Through new administrative rules, DeWine said he seeks to ban surgeries intended for gender-affirming care for minors and impose restrictions to prevent “pop-up clinics” or “clandestine operations” that would provide poor quality care. He said relevant agencies would start collecting data.

Her story has fueled anti-trans bills. Now she fights them.

DeWine had refused to take a position on the bill until it arrived at his desk. For about two weeks, the governor consulted with various factions, including families with trans youth.

Ohio resident Kelli Marie, an opponent of the bill who has a trans daughter, met with DeWine this week, she said.

“On Christmas Eve, Governor DeWine contacted me and asked if we could meet with him. He invited our family to come to his house in Cedarville. He wanted to meet Allison and hear about our trip,” Marie posted on Facebook. “Allison shared her story as she always does – from the heart. Not hesitating to share the darkest moments. Mike and I talked about our fears, our lack of understanding, and the process of understanding that this was Allison’s truth.

“We thanked him for his leadership during the pandemic. For turning to medicine and science to save lives. And we ask him to do it again,” Marie continued.

States across the country are embroiled in battles over these laws.

Nick Zingarelli moved his family from Missouri to Ohio in part because of laws targeting gender-affirming care in Missouri. Zingarelli’s 14-year-old daughter is transgender and now receives care in Ohio.

Zingarelli hopes the Republican governor’s veto will prompt some party lawmakers to change their votes, hampering the bill’s supporters’ ability to override DeWine.

“We are very grateful for the grandfather clause that protects [my daughter’s] right to access care. But what about all the other kids who are at different stages of their journey? he said.

“What about the child who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but is not yet at the point where medical intervention is appropriate? That [would have been] eliminated as an option for them. What about the children who have sought medical care here because there is no possibility of receiving that medical care where they live?

This summer, despite a ruling from a Travis County District Court judge, a Texas law prohibiting young people from changing their gender for medical reasons took effect, prohibiting health care providers from providing young people with treatments such as puberty blockers and hormones. Many Republican-majority states – like Missouri – have taken on transgender issues in their chambers.

The case could end up before the highest court in the country. Last month, transgender youth, their families and health care providers asked the Supreme Court to block a Tennessee law banning gender-affirming care for minors. If the high court takes up the case, it would be the first opportunity for judges to rule on such restrictions, The Post reported.

Casey Parks contributed to this report.

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