The Ohio Senate voted to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of House Bill 68, which will protect minors from experimental transgender treatments euphemistically referred to as “gender-affirming care” and safeguard fairness in women’s sports.
The override passed the Senate 24-8 Wednesday, after passing the House of Representatives, 65-28, on Jan. 10. The clerk initially read the wrong number for the votes, 23-9.
HB 68, the Enact Ohio Saving Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act, will bar physicians from performing gender-reassignment surgery on a minor and from prescribing cross-sex hormones or drugs to block puberty for the purpose of gender transition. It also will enable students to sue if they are deprived of a fair playing field in sports due to gender activism and protect parents’ rights to raise their children according to their biological sex.
DeWine, a Republican, vetoed the bill on Dec. 29 after it passed both houses by veto-proof majorities.
DeWine framed his veto as an effort to bring consensus on a divisive issue and to avoid having the government decide what medical decisions are best for children. He insisted that a bureaucratic rulemaking process would be more likely to produce rules that would survive legal challenges. Similar laws restricting experimental gender interventions have faced court challenges, although many have survived legal scrutiny.
The governor echoed pro-transgender activists who claim that minors with gender dysphoria (the painful and persistent condition of identifying with the gender other than their biological sex) will commit suicide if they can’t take hormones or undergo other “treatments” to make their bodies resemble those of the opposite sex.
DeWine signed an “emergency” executive order one week after vetoing the bill. His order only banned sex-reassignment surgeries for minors, while the bill also bans cross-sex hormones and so-called puberty blockers for children. DeWine’s order also did not address males competing in women’s sports.
“The Ohio Senate deserves to be commended today for its commitment to protecting women and children by overriding the governor’s veto of House Bill 68,” Rep. Gary Click, a Republican and the bill’s lead sponsor, said in a statement Wednesday. “The SAFE Act and Save Women’s Sports Act are the civil rights issues of our day, ensuring that children have the right to grow up intact and that women are no longer subject to men invading their spaces.”
Ryan Walker, executive vice president of Heritage Action for America, praised the veto override. (Heritage Action for America is an independent, nonprofit organization affiliated with The Heritage Foundation, which is The Daily Signal’s parent organization.)
“HB 68 reflects the values of a bipartisan majority of Americans who know that biological males do not belong in girls’ sports—and that dangerous cross-sex hormones and experimental surgeries have no business being administered to children,” Walker said.
The pro-transgender group Human Rights Campaign condemned the override.
“These politicians think they know trans youth better than their parents and doctors,” the organization posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This is not the end of the fight. We will not stop until trans youth in Ohio and across the country have their rights protected and respected.”
Aaron Baer, president of the Center for Christian Virtue, praised the Ohio Legislature for overriding the veto.
“Up until the very last floor speech, opponents of HB 68 lied about the mutilation and sterilization that is happening to children in Ohio,” Baer told The Daily Signal in a statement Wednesday. “But Ohio lawmakers did what Gov DeWine couldn’t do: see through manipulation and stand up for kids.”
As Brent Scher reported for The Daily Wire, the Cincinnati hospital’s Transgender Health Center revealed a strategy to hide minors’ gender transitions from parents who might not support them.
Dr. Lee Ann Conard, the center’s director, lays out ways to progress a child toward “gender affirmation” without parental support. She suggests finding a therapist for a child without telling parents, and even putting young girls on “menstrual suppression” to stop their periods.
“We see kids 3, 4, all the way up to the 25th birthday,” Conard says in the video. “We can refer a child for therapy without telling parents.”
She also acknowledged, “We have a large number of patients who have dual diagnoses of eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder.”
“Ohio legislators should be commended today for acting to protect children and families in their state from the awful consequences of gender ideology,” Terry Schilling, president of American Principles Project, said in a statement. “Most Americans agree that it is wrong to push children into permanent, bodily destructive procedures to ‘treat’ their mental distress. And they agree it is wrong to force women and girl athletes to compete against biological males in sports. The safeguards in this legislation are simple, common sense.”
“There are only two sexes—male and female—and denying this basic truth only hurts the most vulnerable, our precious children,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Sharp said in a statement on the override. “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,” he added. “No one has the right to harm children, and, thankfully, states have the power—and duty—to protect them.”
“Compassion does not allow an industry to profit from physically and sexually maiming a generation of kids being deceived about their ‘gender,’” Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, said in a statement on the veto override. “Ohio’s medical lobby is making big bucks catering to their identity crisis. They are not helping kids resolve the dysphoria when they are ‘transing’ kids for profit and long-term dependence on drugs. Ohio legislators thankfully put a stop to this.”
This is a breaking story and may be updated.
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