This Isn’t Over: Ohio Senate’s Vote to Ban Medical Care for Trans Youth Won’t Be the Last Word

by Delphine Luneau

Cowardly, Self-Serving Vote Will Impose Ban on Medical Care for Transgender Youth in Ohio, But Families, Medical Practitioners and Advocates Won’t Let it End Here

Voters Will Have a Golden Opportunity to Register Their Opposition to Blatantly Discriminatory, Harmful Policy at Polls This Fall

COLUMBUS — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — released the following statement in response to the Ohio Senate’s shameful vote today to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of House Bill 68:

“These legislators have abdicated their responsibility to do what’s right for the Ohioans they represent, casting votes that they know full well will harm innocent children, all to appease the leader of the MAGA agenda,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. “Despite the fact that they have no medical training, these politicians believe they know better than parents and transgender youth seeking health care. It’s shameful. The legislature has repeatedly made clear it is out of step with the citizens of Ohio, and Ohioans have had enough. They have the opportunity this November not just to kick them out of office, but to begin the process for securing fair maps that accurately reflect the needs of the state.”

House Bill 68 was vetoed by Gov. DeWine in late December. The Ohio House came back early from its holiday break to override the veto, followed by today’s Senate’s vote. The law will ban age-appropriate, medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth in the state and prevent transgender students from participating in school sports on the teams that match their gender identity.

In a press conference Dec. 29 announcing his veto, DeWine said: “Were I to sign House Bill 68, or were House Bill 68 to become law, Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government, knows better what is best for a child than the two people who know that child the best – the parents.”

By passing this discriminatory, anti-transgender, anti-health care bill, legislators have put the safety and well-being of Ohioans at risk, likely forcing some families to consider leaving the state out of necessity for their health and safety. In a 2023 survey from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 42.9% of LGBTQ+ adults in Ohio said they would move or try to move to a different state if the state were to pass or enact a ban on gender affirming care.

Survey data from PRRI shows that 80 percent of Ohioans support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. In a recent statement, the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association wrote of H.B.68: “If this bill becomes law, it will be devastating to kids and their families who are already at their most vulnerable and will place an insurmountable barrier between patients and their medical professionals for often lifesaving care.”

Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has also been opposed broadly by the business community — more than 300 major U.S. corporations have spoken out to oppose discriminatory legislation being proposed in states across the country. Over 100 large employers have also signed onto the Count Us In pledge, which includes a commitment to ensure access to health care for their transgender and nonbinary employees. Many of those industries make up the backbone of Ohio’s economy, underscoring the potential fallout of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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