DeWine Vetoes Gender-Affirming Care Legislation

[December 29, 2023]

This morning, Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference to announce his veto of HB 68, which would have banned gender-affirming care for minors.

The OOA was one of 15 associations to jointly write to Gov. Mike DeWine urging him to take this action. The letter noted in part:

Since taking office, you and your administration have prioritized child health and wellness. Our organizations have been proud to support your efforts to address the pediatric behavioral health crisis, respond to emergent public health issues, and expand services for multi-system youth. We believe that the work of your administration has saved lives. Our members share these goals and are committed to providing the best care possible for all patients. And just like you, many have dedicated their lives to caring for Ohio children.

The bill, as approved by the state legislature, would have prohibited health care professionals from providing hormone replacement therapy and reconstructive surgery to trans children. The letter noted there is no objection to including a ban on gender transition surgeries for minors, which DeWine said he would enact via executive action. In fact, these surgeries are not available at any Ohio children’s hospital.

The main concerns of the bill deal with the prohibition on any pharmaceutical therapy for children and adolescents with gender dysphoria, as well as language restricting the ability of providers to even discuss these options with parents.

DeWine said the decision about whether a minor should have access to gender-affirming care “should not be made by the government, should not be made by the state of Ohio,” rather it should be made by the child’s parents and doctors.

State lawmakers can override the governor’s veto with a three-fifths majority vote.

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