Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine vetoed an important bill that would have protected children from damaging transgender medical interventions and saved girls’ and women’s sports in the Buckeye State.

The legislation (HB 68), titled the “Saving Ohio Adolescents from Experimentation Act,” (SAFE ACT) would have prohibited physicians from prescribing puberty blocking drugs and opposite sex hormones for minors and from performing “gender reassignment surgeries” on them.

The SAFE Act also would have protected girls’ and women’s sports by mandating that each school designate separate teams for men and women.

It’s important to note that gender cannot be “reassigned” – even with drugs or surgeries. Transgender medical interventions can make someone appear more like the opposite sex. But everyone’s sex is an innate biological trait; it cannot be changed nor reassigned.

The Ohio Senate overwhelming approved HB 68 in a 24-8 vote on December 13, 2023. The Ohio House of Representatives subsequently passed the bill on the same day by a wide margin in a 62-27 vote.

Yet Gov. DeWine vetoed the bill on December 29. In a press conference announcing his decision, the governor said that he vetoed the bill to “protect human life.”

“Many parents have told me that their child would be dead today if they had not received the treatment they received from an Ohio hospital,” Gov. DeWine said. “I have also been told, by those who are now grown adults, that but for this care, they would have taken their life when they were teenagers.”

Transgender activists often use the emotionally manipulative and abusive line, telling parents with gender-confused girls, “Would you rather have a live son or a dead daughter?”

While the governor cited anecdotes in that vein, the studies done on transgender medical interventions paint a different picture. The Daily Citizen has repeatedly reported on these studies.

As we explained here in a very important article,

Affirming someone’s gender confusion or providing medical intervention via drugs or removing healthy body parts has had no substantial effect on reducing suicide rates.

In another article, we cited the Institute for Research and Evaluation which published a review of the available medical and psychological literature on transgenderism. The IRE found,

Scientifically sound studies have found either no reduction or an increase in transgender suicidality after youth have received cross-sex medical procedures (emphasis in original).

Gov. DeWine has been badly misinformed – transgender medical interventions are harmful and damaging and do not help children.

Numerous Ohio legislators are calling for the state legislature to overturn the governor’s veto. GOP state Rep. Derek Merrin said, “House Republicans have the necessary votes to override in the House.”

Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens said in a statement that the Ohio Republican caucus would “certainly discuss” Gov. DeWine’s veto and “take the appropriate next steps,” noting that the bill was “passed by veto-proof majorities in each chamber.”

The Ohio General Assembly convenes on January 2, 2024.

Many conservative and Christian organizations have criticized the governor’s decision.

“Gov. DeWine’s capitulation to radical gender ideology is outrageous and unacceptable,” said The Heritage Foundation’s President Kevin Roberts. “Ohio state lawmakers should override the governor’s veto immediately.”

“Mike DeWine has failed Ohio, and it’s our children who are going to pay the price,” said Aaron Baer, president of the Center for Christian Virtue, a Focus on the Family-allied organization based in Ohio. He added:

If the General Assembly does not override his veto, when we look back a generation from now at the thousands of kids who have been sterilized and harmed by dangerous and experimental transgender medical procedures, we will realize that those in power did nothing to stop it.

Baer said that those celebrating DeWine’s decision are “progressive activists” and “children’s hospitals that are profiting off the sterilization and manipulation of children and parents.”

Speaking of the part of the legislation that would have protected girls’ and women’s sports, Baer said, “As a father of girls, it’s a heartless act that the Governor would force my girls to compete against boys.” He concluded,

HB68 was passed with supermajorities, meaning the General Assembly could right this wrong and override the Governor’s veto. I urge President Huffman and Speaker Stephens to act swiftly to protect our kids and right this wrong before more children are hurt.

The Daily Citizen will keep you updated if the Ohio legislature moves to override the governor’s veto of the SAFE Act. Until then, children struggling with sexual-identity confusion and girls participating in female athletics are at risk of immense and irreversible harm.

Focus on the Family exists to help families, and that includes help navigating the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Focus offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

Related articles and resources:

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

Transgender Resources

Addressing Gender Identity with Honesty and Compassion

The Journey Back to My True Identity

What is ‘Gender Identity’

Transgenderism and Minors: What Does the Research Really Show?

Do Not Fall for the ‘Affirm Them or They Will Die’ Lie

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