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Ohio Senate Overrides Veto on Trans Care and Sports Ban Bill

In a 23-9 vote, the Ohio Senate has overridden Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of Ohio House Bill 68.

This legislation aims to prohibit transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming medical care and participating in girls’ and women’s sports, and it follows the Ohio House’s decision to override the veto on January 10.

Restrictions on Transgender Youth Care

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House Bill 68 places restrictions on the use of puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or surgeries for transgender youth while allowing these medical options for non-transgender youth.

Exception for intersex youth

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It includes an exception for intersex youth with ambiguous or abnormal sex characteristics.

Importantly, a grandfather clause permits transgender individuals already receiving care to continue their treatment.

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Age-Appropriate and Individualized Care

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Physicians emphasize the importance of age-appropriate and individualized approaches to care, involving extensive conversations between doctors, families, and patients.

Puberty Blockers

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For youth nearing puberty, puberty blockers offer a reversible form of gender-affirming care, allowing them to temporarily pause puberty and explore their gender identity without the development of permanent sex characteristics, such as breasts or genitalia.

Gradual and Partially Reversible Changes

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Hormone therapy, often administered to older teens, assists patients in aligning their physical appearance with their gender identity.

This treatment involves the gradual administration of estrogen or testosterone, and the changes it induces are partially reversible.

Surgeries on adolescents remain rare and are considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Governor DeWine’s Veto and Concerns

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Governor DeWine initially vetoed House Bill 68 in December 2023, expressing concerns that the legislation would negatively impact transgender youth and interfere with families’ decision-making processes.

He asserted that these challenging decisions should be made by parents who know and love their children best.

Regulating Gender-Affirming Care

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While Governor DeWine agreed with certain legislative concerns, he proposed alternative rules to regulate gender-affirming care.

These rules, he believed, would be less likely to face legal challenges.

His proposals included bans on surgeries for minors, as he noted that discussions with affected families did not center on surgical procedures.

National Landscape of Gender-Affirming Care Legislation

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Currently, at least 21 states have implemented restrictions on access to gender-affirming care, many of which have encountered legal opposition.

In Arkansas, a law banning gender-affirming care for minors was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge, and similar laws have been blocked in Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Texas, and Montana while legal proceedings unfold.

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Reporting and Data Collection

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Governor DeWine also introduced measures for reporting and data collection regarding individuals receiving care to enhance the monitoring of care quality.

He proposed regulations for “pop-up clinics” serving the transgender community.

Support from Medical Associations

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More than 20 major national medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, have attested to the safety and efficacy of gender-affirming care.

Medically Necessary

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These medical organizations assert that such care can be medically necessary to improve the physical and mental well-being of transgender individuals.

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Challenges Faced by Transgender Youth

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Transgender youth often grapple with anxiety, depressed mood, and thoughts of suicide due to discrimination and gender dysphoria, as highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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