“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.
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 six trans girls actively participating in school sports this year across the entire state, according to the Ohio Capital Journal. Approximately 400,000 female athletes participate in 7-12 athletics in the state, according to Ohio High School Athletics Association, meaning the six trans girls represent 0.000015% of the total number.
HB 68, passed by the state Legislature earlier this month, also included bans on gender-affirming surgeries for minors.
However, DeWine said 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 said. “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’ss veto is likely to be overridden by the state legislature, as HB 68 passed both the state House and Senate with a supermajority.
The governor’s veto drew swift rebukes Friday from anti-trans supporters of gender-affirming care bans, both in the state and nationally.
DeWine also was praised by various LGBTQ groups.
“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.”
This article originally appeared on Advocate.com, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Equal Pride.