Ohio House Votes to Override Governor’s Veto of Ban on Gender Transitions for Minors

Ohio Governor Vetoes Ban on Gender Transitions for Minors, Setting Up Possible Override

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Ohio’s Senate, where Republicans also have a supermajority, will now vote on whether to override the Republican governor’s veto on Jan. 24.

The Ohio House voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a bill that would ban gender transition procedures for minors and prohibit male athletes from playing on female sports teams.

Lawmakers in the state’s lower chamber voted 65-28 along party lines. Ohio’s Senate, where Republicans also have a supermajority, will now vote on whether to override the Republican governor’s veto on Jan. 24.

Legislators need 60 percent of the vote in both chambers to override the governor’s veto.

Ohio Republican Rep. Gary Click, the bill’s primary sponsor, said: “I think most people here have good intentions. I believe our governor has good intentions. However, good intentions do not save lives or protect women—good policy does.”

Ohio Democrats denounced the vote, with state Rep. Anita Somani accusing Republicans of ignoring medical evidence that she said supports such procedures and declaring the ban is “moving people backwards.”

“Why? Because your Google search makes your knowledge equal to my 30-plus years in medicine?” said Ms. Somani, who is also an obstetrics/gynecology physician in central Ohio, on the state House floor.

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The bill, also known as the Saving Ohio Adolescents from Experimentation Act, would ban physicians from performing gender reassignment surgeries. It specifically blocks the administration of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and identity-driven surgeries for minors.

Advocates of the bill argue that these interventions are irreversible and can have long-term consequences, urging a shift towards compassionate mental health care for minors grappling with issues related to gender identity.

Last month, Mr. DeWine vetoed the bill, telling reporters during a press conference that such a measure, if allowed to become law, would do more harm than good.

This led former President Donald Trump to say he was “finished” associating with the Republican Ohio governor.

“Ultimately, I believe this is about protecting human life,” Mr. DeWine said. “Many parents have told me that their child would not have survived—would be dead today—if they had not received the treatment they received from one of Ohio’s children’s hospitals.”

Pro-Ban: ‘Only Two Sexes’

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Sharp, director of the ADF Center for Legislative Advocacy, applauded the Ohio House’s action.

Mr. Sharp emphasized the need to protect children from what he deemed to be risky and often irreversible experimentation that “block healthy puberty, alter hormonal balance, and remove healthy organs and body parts.”

“We commend the Ohio House of Representatives for overriding Gov. Mike DeWine’s misguided veto of the SAFE Act, a bill that rejects the politicized and harmful practice of pushing minors towards irreversible drugs and surgeries in favor of compassionate mental health care that gives them time to grow into comfort with their bodies and true identities,” Mr. Sharp said in a statement.

He continued, “Biology is clear: there are only two sexes—male and female—and denying this basic truth only hurts those most vulnerable, our precious children. 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.”

Anti-Ban: ‘Draconian and Discriminatory’

LGBT rights group Human Rights Campaign condemned the vote by what it deemed “Ohio’s anti-equality majority,” calling the ban “draconian and discriminatory.”

The organization claimed the bill prevents young people from accessing “best practice, medically necessary health care in defiance of the expert advice of every major medical association.”

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said in a statement: “MAGA extremists in the legislature have caved to Trump’s bullying and decided that politicians, not parents, should decide what health care Ohio’s youth have access to.

“The override is a clear attempt to earn the approval of Trump and rile up their base instead of doing what is best for Ohio families. But the battle isn’t over. We will continue to fight to see this horrible law overturned,” she added.

School Sports

Other provisions of the bill would bar schools from allowing male athletes to join female sports teams in high schools and colleges, reflecting a nationwide trend to address concerns about fairness in women’s athletics.

ADF senior counsel Christiana Kiefer highlighted the importance of maintaining a fair and level playing field for female athletes.

“Women and girls deserve a fair and level playing field. Yet when males are allowed to enter the women’s sports arena, they have clear biological advantages that result in female athletes losing medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete,” said Ms. Kiefer.

She further added, “We applaud the Ohio House of Representatives for overriding the governor’s veto of the SAFE Act; now we urge the Senate to follow suit, enact the Save Women’s Sports Act, and join the growing number of states protecting female athletes. These critical protections ensure that fair athletic competition is preserved. Women and girls must be able to compete in confidence, free of facing unfair biological advantages.”

This provision was also condemned by the Human Rights Campaign organization, which said young people should be able to participate “in school sports consistent with their gender identity.”

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