Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Days Before Deadline Ohio Gov Has Yet To Sign Bill Banning Sex-Change Procedures For Minors

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (File) By Kate Anderson

Ohio’s legislature passed a bill banning sex-change procedures for minors on Dec. 13, but Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has yet to make a decision on the legislation just three days before the deadline.

House Bill 68 bars doctors from performing sex-change medical procedures, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries, on minors and bans biologically male athletes from competing in women’s sports.

The legislation was passed by the Senate in a 24-8 vote and by the state House of Representatives by a 61-27 vote before being sent to DeWine, who has yet to sign the bill three days out from the Dec. 29 deadline.

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A spokesperson for DeWine’s office told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “the governor continues to review the bill.” If DeWine declines to either veto or sign the bill, the law will go into effect automatically.

DeWine said in an interview on Dec. 21 that he had been visiting hospitals to talk to families who support and oppose the legislation, according to The Associated Press.

Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist and director of Genspect, an international group that advocates for a “healthy approach to sex and gender,” told the DCNF that “many politicians feel paralyzed in the face of such hostility.”

“Many politicians choose to duck this issue as they feel they will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” O’Malley said. “It takes a pioneering and brave politician to grapple with this. But when we look at the astonishing rise in the number of people who regret their medical transition and make the difficult decision to detransition, it is clear that courage is required. We hope the Governor takes the time to read about these issues and comes to the right decision.”

Republican state Rep. Gary Click, who introduced the legislation, told the DCNF, however, that he “would not characterize the governor as hesitating,” explaining that DeWine was “performing due diligence.”

“Personally, I spent much more time before consenting to carry this bill,” Click said. “I respect that he is listening to all sides, especially when I know the facts are in our favor. The facts are on our side. The polls are on our side. The legislature passed HB 68 with an overwhelming majority. I am confident that when the governor considers the information before him he will do the right thing, which is to sign the bill.”

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Hundreds testified in support and in opposition to the legislation, with some parents of transgender children and medical professionals arguing the bill would be harmful to transgender youth in the state, according to Fox 19, a local media outlet. A number of detransitioners spoke in support of the bill and one asked lawmakers to “close the door to harmful gender-affirming care.”

Both O’Malley and Click agreed that minors are not capable of consenting to transgender medical procedures and pointed to potential life-long side effects and health problems that have been reported as a result.

“These procedures impede the individual’s ability to orgasm and their ability to have children,” O’Malley told the DCNF. “Medical transition carries a heavy burden on the body and the risks of osteoporosis, heart failure and cognitive impairment are significantly increased by these procedures. Young people often feel indestructible. Sadly, as we age, we better understand risks.”

Nearly two dozen states have passed laws restricting sex-change procedures for minors, according to the Human Rights Campaign. A judge in Idaho ruled Tuesday against a state law signed in April, arguing that the plaintiffs would likely succeed on the merits of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

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