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Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine Vetoes Transgender Health Care and Sports Participation Bans

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Veto Transgender Healthcare Sports Participation Ban
Office of the Governor, State of Ohio; Shutterstock

DeWine's veto is likely to be overridden by the state legislature, as HB68 passed both the state House and Senate with a supermajority.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, has vetoed an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that would have prevented transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care and participating in public school sports.

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“Were I to sign House Bill 68, or were House Bill 68 to become law, Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government knows better what is medically best for a child than the two people who love that child the most: their parents," DeWine said at a press conference Friday.

House Bill 68 would have prevented doctors and other health care providers from prescribing puberty blockers or hormone therapy to minors if they were being used for gender transition. Minors already taking puberty blockers or hormones would have been allowed to continue, so long as a doctor determined that stopping treatment would be detrimental to their health.

The bill would have also prohibited trans women and girls from participating in female sports categories at public institutions, despite only seven trans girls actively participating in school sports this year across the entire state.

DeWine vetoed the bill, put forth by the state legislature earlier this month, which also included bans on gender-affirming surgeries for minors. However, he stated that he intends to draft a provision that would ban minors from receiving gender-affirming surgery in Ohio, and prevent “pop-up clinics” from performing such care. He believes this will hold up better in court compared to laws in other states, which lawsuits have challenged.

DeWine said he will also direct his administration to gather data on the number of gender-affirming surgeries performed in Ohio, on both adults and minors. Such surgery is already scarcely — virtually never — performed on minors. In fact, significantly more teenage girls get breast implants annually, yet Republicans are not pushing bans on unnecessary plastic surgery for minors.

DeWine came to his decision to veto the bill after speaking with healthcare providers, as well as families of transgender children, who he said "told me their child is alive only because they received care." He added that his choice was ultimately "about protecting human life."

“These are gut-wrenching decisions that should be made by parents and should be informed by teams of doctors who are advising them," he continued. "These are parents who have watched their children suffer for years, and have real concerns their children would not survive without it. Families are basing their decisions on the best medical advice they can get.”

DeWine's veto is likely to be overridden by the state legislature, as HB68 passed both the state House and Senate with a supermajority.

"The governor listened to families, providers and all Ohioans who know this bill is harmful and baseless," GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "Transgender people, like all of us, deserve to live free from discrimination, in dignity and happiness."

Ellis added: "Trans youth deserve to grow up in a state that sees, hears and supports them. This veto is a small measure of understanding that facts matter, that all families are valued, and that Ohio is a place where common sense and compassion should always win."

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.