‘Courage Is Required’: Days Before Deadline, Ohio Gov Has Yet To Sign Bill Banning Sex-Change Procedures For Minors

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  • Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio has yet to sign a bill prohibiting doctors from performing transgender procedures on minors despite a rapidly approaching deadline.
  • If signed, Ohio’s law would join over 20 other states that have passed laws limiting access to transgender medical procedures for minors.
  • “Many politicians choose to duck this issue as they feel they will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist and director of Genspect told the DCNF.

Ohio’s legislature passed a bill banning sex-change procedures for minors on Dec. 13, but Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has yet to make a decision on the legislation just three days before the deadline.

House Bill 68, which combines the Saving Ohio Adolescents from Experimentation Act and the Save Women’s Sports Act, bars doctors from performing sex-change medical procedures, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries, on minors and bans biologically male athletes from competing in women’s sports. The legislation was passed by the Senate in a 24-8 vote and by the state House of Representatives by a 61-27 vote before being sent to DeWine, who has yet to sign the bill three days out from the Dec. 29 deadline. (RELATED: Trump-Appointed Judge Denies DOJ’s Attempt To Halt Litigation Over Red State Ban On Sex Change Surgeries For Minors)

A spokesperson for DeWine’s office told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “the governor continues to review the bill.” If DeWine declines to either veto or sign the bill, the law will go into effect automatically.

DeWine said in an interview on Dec. 21 that he had been visiting hospitals to talk to families who support and oppose the legislation, according to The Associated Press.

Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist and director of Genspect, an international group that advocates for a “healthy approach to sex and gender,” told the DCNF that “many politicians feel paralyzed in the face of such hostility.”

“Many politicians choose to duck this issue as they feel they will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” O’Malley said. “It takes a pioneering and brave politician to grapple with this. But when we look at the astonishing rise in the number of people who regret their medical transition and make the difficult decision to detransition, it is clear that courage is required. We hope the Governor takes the time to read about these issues and comes to the right decision.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: Demonstrators cheer during the speaking program at the "Our Bodies, Our Sports" rally for the 50th anniversary of Title IX at Freedom Plaza on June 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. The rally, organized by multiple athletic women's groups was held to call on U.S. President Joe Biden to put restrictions on transgender females and "advocate to keep women's sports female."(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Demonstrators cheer during the speaking program at the “Our Bodies, Our Sports” rally for the 50th anniversary of Title IX at Freedom Plaza on June 23, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Republican state Rep. Gary Click, who introduced the legislation, told the DCNF, however, that he “would not characterize the governor as hesitating,” explaining that DeWine was “performing due diligence.”

“Personally, I spent much more time before consenting to carry this bill,” Click said. “I respect that he is listening to all sides, especially when I know the facts are in our favor. The facts are on our side. The polls are on our side. The legislature passed HB 68 with an overwhelming majority. I am confident that when the governor considers the information before him he will do the right thing, which is to sign the bill.”

Hundreds testified in support and in opposition to the legislation, with some parents of transgender children and medical professionals arguing the bill would be harmful to transgender youth in the state, according to Fox 19, a local media outlet. A number of detransitioners spoke in support of the bill and one asked lawmakers to “close the door to harmful gender-affirming care.”

Quena González, senior director of Governmental Affairs for the Family Research Center, told the DCNF that he had been working on promoting this kind of legislation in other states back in 2018 after an Ohio couple lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter because they wouldn’t approve of her wanting to transition.

“We and several other organizations pulled together draft bills from different sources and we looked at ways to draw them all together to address protecting minors, parents and taxpayers,” González said. “We put them together into one model bill that someone could use, and we called it the Safe Act or Saving Adolescents from Experimentation … Representative Click has been working on this, as I said, for several years and has really done a masterful job of coming back year after year courageously to address this issue, and he is to be congratulated.”

González also said he wasn’t sure why DeWine hasn’t already signed the legislation, saying that it “seems like a no brainer to sign a bill that protects minors and in this case protects parents.”

Both O’Malley and Click agreed that minors are not capable of consenting to transgender medical procedures and pointed to potential life-long side effects and health problems that have been reported as a result.

“These procedures impede the individual’s ability to orgasm and their ability to have children,” O’Malley told the DCNF. “Medical transition carries a heavy burden on the body and the risks of osteoporosis, heart failure and cognitive impairment are significantly increased by these procedures. Young people often feel indestructible. Sadly, as we age, we better understand risks.”

Nearly two dozen states have passed laws restricting sex-change procedures for minors, according to the Human Rights Campaign. A judge in Idaho ruled Tuesday against a state law signed in April, arguing that the plaintiffs would likely succeed on the merits of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

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