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Ohio bans gender-affirming care for minors, overriding governor’s veto

Ohio bans gender-affirming care for minors, overriding governor’s veto

The Ohio state Senate voted to override Republican Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of a gender-affirming care ban for minors — a major blow to transgender rights in the state.

The measure, House Bill 68, aims to prohibit minors from receiving transition health care and restricts transgender girls’ participation in school sports in the state. It is set to go into effect in 90 days.

The Ohio Senate’s override on Wednesday comes after the state’s House of Representatives voted to reverse the governor’s decision on 10 January. The Republican-dominated state Senate is made up of 26 Republicans and only seven Democrats.

Governor DeWine vetoed the legislation last month, a rare move from a Republican on the issue. Two other GOP governors, Utah’s Spencer Cox and Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson, have notably issued vetoes on anti-trans legislation.

“I continue to believe it is in the best interests of children for these medical decisions to be made by the child’s parents and not by the government,” Mr DeWine said in a press conference after his veto.

State Sen Paula Hicks-Hudson condemned the bill on Wednesday: “What we are doing today is creating major harm for a small segment of the population of the state of Ohio.”

State Sen Bill DeMora also chimed in, opposing the legislation. “After having the least productive year of legislating since 1955, we’re coming back to bully transgender children...We’re wasting our time passing hateful legislation,” he said.

After the state Senate’s vote on Wednesday, Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson blasted state lawmakers who “believe they know better than parents and transgender youth seeking health care.”

“It’s shameful. The legislature has repeatedly made clear it is out of step with the citizens of Ohio, and Ohioans have had enough,” she said in a statement. “These legislators have abdicated their responsibility to do what’s right for the Ohioans they represent, casting votes that they know full well will harm innocent children, all to appease the leader of the MAGA agenda,” referring to Donald Trump, who has pledged a nationwide ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth, if elected president.

After Mr DeWine’s veto, the former president took to Truth Social saying “DeWine has fallen to the Radical Left” and encouraged the Ohio legislature to override the move.

Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost tweeted: “If they override the governor’s mistaken veto– and they should – I am prepared to defend it against the inevitable legal challenge.”

Despite the Republican governor’s veto of HB68, he issued an executive order earlier this month, banning transition surgeries for minors at any hospital in the state. This move made Ohio the second state — the only other is Arizona — to have prohibited these procedures for minors, which are exceedingly rare. The governor conceded that there is “very little evidence” they are even peformed among Ohio children.