Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently rattled the GOP when he vetoed HB 68, the Saving Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act.

The bill would have both protected fairness in women’s sports and prohibited cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, and body-modifying gender-related surgeries for minors under the age of 18. Shortly after his veto, however, DeWine issued an transgender-focused “emergency” executive order. But it fell abysmally short of HB 68’s aims.

While DeWine was apparently keen to prevent minors from mutilating their bodies in pursuit of gender orthodoxy, he seemed unconvinced that preventing chemical castration of minors or protecting fairness and safety in girls sports were worthy undertakings. His order was silent on both.

Banning only transgender surgeries for minors was a grasp at low-hanging fruit. And DeWine’s veto of a comprehensive legislative package that was passed by a supermajority of his state’s legislators—one that identifies the immutability of sex and protects vulnerable populations—was nothing more than capitulation to a minuscule, but vocal minority.

In his veto announcement, DeWine argued that “were House Bill 68 to become law, Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government, knows better what is best for a child than the two people who know that child the best—the parents.”

As a parent, I fully understand the sanctity of the parent-child relationship and the say that parents ought to have in the medical care of their children. But what I don’t understand is the rush to permit chemical castration and sterility that results from the use of hormones and puberty blockers—especially when up to 94% of confused teens make peace with their natal sex after they’re through the emotionally volatile pubertal years, and 68% of Americans support banning their access by minors.

Nor do I understand why equal athletic competition for young women and girls must be sacrificed for the sake of boys who feel like girls—especially when my daughter loses a hard-fought volleyball scholarship or roster slot to a boy.

DeWine has yet to weigh in on the portion of HB 68 that dealt with sex-separated sports and would have guaranteed continued athletic equality for Ohio’s young women and girls. That’s strange, considering the fact that nearly 70% of Americans support separating sports teams by biological sex—up from 62% two years ago.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which performs trans surgeries on minors and donated thousands of dollars to DeWine’s campaign, lobbied him to veto HB 68.

In fact, hospital CEO Steve Davis stated publicly that HB 68 “would hinder doctors and parents from collaboratively deciding the best treatment for their children,” a talking point DeWine later repeated.

It was later discovered, however, that the hospital’s talk of parental involvement was all lip service. Instead, the hospital held training sessions to school doctors in ways to circumvent surgery-skeptical parents and how to actively move children in the direction of surgical procedures.

The saga of HB 68 isn’t just the story of a veto and subsequent executive brinkmanship. It’s also a massive human rights violation that requires an immediate investigation into what’s currently being done in the dark at “gender-affirming” clinics and hospitals in Ohio.

In late December, when DeWine vetoed HB 68, Republican Senate President Matt Huffman and GOP Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens both signaled their disappointment and the need to pursue a veto override. Thankfully, and in a welcome display of courage, the Ohio House voted 65 to 28 to do just that on Jan. 9. Bill sponsor Republican state Rep. Gary Click said the calls his office received to override the veto represented the “highest organic input” he had ever received.

Now, the state Senate will get its chance to weigh in, set for Wednesday, and needs 20 votes in the 33-member body to override DeWine’s veto. With an override, the Senate has a chance to honor the will of the people of Ohio. Let’s hope it does just that.

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