Ohio’s GOP governor vetoes ban on gender-affirming care for transgender athletes in girls’ sports

(Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

Ohio’s GOP governor vetoes ban on gender-affirming care for transgender athletes in girls’ sports


Dec. 29, 2023

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday vetoed a measure that would ban gender-affirming care for minors and transgender athletes from participating in girls’ and women’s sports, in a break from members of his party championing the legislation.

Republican lawmakers have enough seats to override DeWine’s veto, but it was not immediately clear if or when they would do so.

Both w

Within and across chambers, Republican lawmakers have been out of alignment this year.

On Friday, DeWine said at a news conference that he had listened to people on both sides of the legislation who truly believe their position best protects children.

He found that the bill would impact a small number of Ohio children, but for the children affected by gender dysphoria and their families, the implications of this bill could not be more profound.

Ultimately, I believe this is about protecting human lives, he said, announcing his decision to veto the legislation.

While there are rare instances in the law under other circumstances where the state overrides the parents’ medical decisions, I can’t think of any examples where this happens where it not only conflicts with the parents’ decision, but also violates with the parents’ medical decisions. the medical judgment of the treating physician and against the judgment of the treating team of medical experts, he said. Therefore, I cannot sign this bill as currently written.

However, DeWine said he believed there were administrative actions that could address the bill’s key concerns and announced a three-pronged approach.

He orders agencies to ban surgeries on people under the age of 18 as part of gender-affirming care. He said he believes it is a misconception that this goes straight to surgery.

He agreed with the legislator on this

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no comprehensive data on those receiving gender-affirming care, and will direct relevant agencies to report findings to the legislature and the public on minors and adults seeking care.

Finally, DeWine said his administration will establish rules and restrictions to prevent pop-up clinics or “fly by night” operations so that families receive adequate guidance regarding gender-affirming care.

Hundreds of opponents tested Ohio’s multifaceted measure when it passed the Legislature, including medical and mental health providers, education professionals, religious leaders, parents of transgender children and transgender individuals themselves.

They described the legislation as cruel, life-threatening to transgender youth and based on fear-mongering rather than science.

The measure, which passed the Legislature earlier this month with only Republican support, would have banned Ohio minors from taking puberty blockers and other hormone therapies or undergoing sex reassignment surgery that would further align them with their gender identity.

However, it



have allowed any minor living in Ohio to continue the treatment they are currently receiving.

DeWine’s veto deviates from a national trend toward passing such laws. As of 2021, more than two dozen states have passed laws restricting or banning such treatments, despite them having been available in the United States for more than a decade and long endorsed by major medical associations. Most of these states are facing lawsuits, but courts have issued mixed rulings.

The bill would also require public K-12 schools and colleges to designate separate teams for male and female genders, and would explicitly ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports that align with their gender identity. Supporters argue that banning transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s sports maintains the integrity of those sports and ensures fairness.

At least 20 states have passed some version of a statewide ban on transgender athletes playing on K-12 and collegiate sports teams. These bans would be lifted by a proposed ordinance

the Biden President Joe Bidens

administration expected to be completed early next year.


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