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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vetoes bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors


By Jay Croft and Jeff Winter, CNN

(CNN) — Ohio’s Republican governor has vetoed legislation that would have barred transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care, he said Friday.

Signing the bill would “be saying that the state, the government” knows what’s better for youth than their parents, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

State lawmakers passed House Bill 68 just before the holiday break.

The legislation would have prohibited gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth, including hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy, medical or surgical procedures and some mental health services.

The bill also sought to prohibit transgender athletes from taking part in female sports.

The veto comes as other states have passed laws against gender-affirming care for youths. About 20 states have done so, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBTQ+ advocacy group. The group says about 30% of transgender youth between 13 and 17 live in states that have such bans.

The organization praised DeWine’s veto Friday. “This is a huge win for trans youth and their families in Ohio,” it said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

People who have transitioned have told the governor “they are thriving today because of that transition,” DeWine said at a news conference. “Parents have looked me in the eye and told me but for this treatment, their child would be dead,” he said.

“I have also been told by those who are now grown adults that but for this care they would have taken their life when they were teenagers,” DeWine said.

For transgender minors and their families in Ohio, “the consequences of this bill could not be more profound,” he said. “Ultimately, I believe this is about protecting human life.”

Studies have shown that transgender and non-binary youth have higher suicide rates and attempted suicide rates.

A 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 50.8% of transgender male teens tried to take their own lives. The number was 29.9% among transgender female teens.

A ‘fallacy’ about surgery, governor says

Decisions about gender-confirming care should be made by the minor, parents and medical professionals, DeWine said.

Gender-confirming care includes a wide range of treatments, DeWine said, and there’s a “fallacy out there” that such care “goes right to surgery. It just doesn’t.”

Two-thirds of youth who seek counseling don’t even progress to receiving medication, he said.

The governor shares a number of concerns raised in the bill and he will use “administrative rules” to address them, he said.

Those include a ban on transgender surgeries for people under 18, a requirement of reporting to state agencies adults and children who receive transgender care, and a ban on “pop-up” clinics.

DeWine did not address the issue of a prohibition on transgender athletes taking part in female competition, which the bill also sought to put in place.

In August, the North Carolina legislature’s Republican supermajority overrode vetoes from the state’s Democratic governor on three bills targeting transgender youth.

And this week, federal judge in Idaho temporarily blocked a state ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors, just days before the law was set to take effect in the new year.

This story has been updated with new information.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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