The Ohio House of Representatives voted Wednesday to override Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a bill that would protect children from irreversible transgender sex-change procedures and medical interventions, such as puberty blockers and hormones.
The state’s House of Representatives met Wednesday afternoon to vote 65-28 to override the governor’s veto. It now heads to the state Senate.
Activists and organizations that backed the bill were quick to celebrate the news on Wednesday.
“Ohio and the entire nation have spoken,” said Center for Christian Virtue Policy Director David Mahan in a statement. “It’s not okay to chemically sterilize and mutilate children, and no clinic can transform little girls into little boys with pills and scalpels. Additionally, HB 68 will protect women’s and girls’ privacy rights and guarantee them a fair playing field and the opportunity to win athletic scholarships.”
“I want to thank Representatives Click and Powell for courageously championing this legislation, and Speaker Stephens for acting swiftly to protect our kids from the dangerous consequences of Governor DeWine’s veto of HB 68,” he added. “I now urge the Senate to do the same.”
But organizations opposing the legislation, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, condemned the override.
“This state-sponsored vendetta against some of Ohio’s most vulnerable young people is beyond cruel,” said the ACLU of Ohio in an X post. “We stand in solidarity with all trans youth.”
“This bill bans gender-affirming care for trans youth & restricts participation in sports matching their identity,” added the Human Rights Campaign in another X post. “Even after Ohioans told politicians to leave medical decisions alone, they put themselves in control.”
On Friday, DeWine issued an “emergency” executive order to ban sex-reassignment surgeries for minors (but not hormones and puberty blockers) just one week after he vetoed House Bill 68, the Enact Ohio Saving Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act.
The SAFE Act would ban cross-sex hormones and so-called puberty blockers for children, measures DeWine’s executive order apparently omits. The bill would also have addressed fairness in women’s sports, an issue DeWine’s executive order also does not address.
“Although I vetoed … House Bill 68, I stated clearly in my veto message that I agreed with the General Assembly that no gender-transition surgeries should be performed on anyone under the age of 18, and I directed agencies under my purview to draft rules to ban this practice in Ohio,” DeWine said in his Jan. 5 executive order.
He also declared that “an emergency exists requiring the immediate adoption of rules 3701-59-06 and 3701-83-60 of the Ohio Administrative Code.”
According to the executive order, the regulations “would prohibit gender-transition surgeries on anyone under the age of 18 in Ohio’s hospitals and health care facilities, including ambulatory surgical facilities.”
National organizations such as CatholicVote and the Alliance Defending Freedom commended Ohio legislators for standing up for the state’s parents.
“DeWine has turned his back on the values of Ohio families, but we are grateful to have safeguards such as this to protect the future of Ohio’s children,” Logan Church, the political director of CatholicVote, said in a statement. “CatholicVote engaged our grassroot supporters throughout the state to urge their representatives to vote the right way, and we will continue that initiative with the Senate. We hope the Senate promptly follows in the House’s footsteps to preserve the principles Ohioans hold dear.”
Matt Sharp, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, emphasized: “Now and always, young people deserve the loving embrace of family members who guide them toward this truth rather than be subjected to risky, often irreversible, and life-altering experimentation and drugs. These approaches are dangerous, as they block healthy puberty, alter hormonal balance, and remove healthy organs and body parts.”
“No one has the right to harm children, and, thankfully, states have the power—and duty—to protect them,” he added. “Now, we urge the Ohio Senate to act and join over 20 other states and several European countries in fighting for truth and curtailing the deployment of harmful surgeries and drugs that are devastating countless lives.”
Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.
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