Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an “emergency” executive order on January 5, banning transgender medical surgeries for minors in the Buckeye State, after vetoing the Saving Ohio Adolescents from Experimentation Act (SAFE Act) last week.

The order (Executive Order 2024-01D) bans transgender surgeries for anyone under the age of 18 at any hospital or ambulatory surgical facility in Ohio.

This is good news. However, the governor vetoed the SAFE Act – which would have done far more to protect children from transgender medical interventions – just one week earlier.

The Act would have prohibited physicians from prescribing puberty blocking drugs and opposite sex hormones for minors; and it would have protected girls and women’s sports by mandating that each school designate separate teams for men and women. Gov. DeWine’s executive order takes neither of these crucial actions.

The governor vetoed the SAFE Act even though 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.

After Gov. DeWine signed the executive order, nonprofit legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) criticized the governor’s decision.

“Gov. DeWine’s ‘emergency’ executive order blatantly fails to protect Ohio’s children,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Sharp. “The governor’s move also fails to address the ongoing issue of males competing in women’s sports, depriving female athletes in Ohio of opportunities they have worked their whole lives to achieve.”

He added:

We urge the Ohio Legislature to put the state’s children, women, and families first and swiftly override the governor’s misguided veto of H.B. 68.

In a strongly worded piece, the editors of National Review wrote that the governor’s veto was “wrong” and that his “sudden-onset radical libertarianism is not credible.”

In a speech announcing the veto, Gov. DeWine argued that if he signed the SAFE Act into law, “Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government knows better what is medically best for a child than the two people who love that child the most, the parents.”

But as the editors of NR point out,

DeWine just recently vetoed a bill that restricted localities from regulating flavored tobacco products. He thinks grown men can’t have menthol cigarettes, but children can get their genitals reconfigured? Give us a break.

In other words, the government already regulates medical procedures and products all the time. What matters is what is being regulated.

In this case, it’s obvious that transgender medical interventions – including puberty blocking drugs and opposite sex hormones – should be entirely banned for minors. That some parents mistakenly believe it’s right does not make it so. And men should be prohibited from participating in girls and women’s sports, thus protecting women.

Despite assertions to the contrary – including by Gov. DeWine – transgender medical interventions do not help their recipients reduce suicidality.

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 (IRE) which published a review of the available medical and psychological literature on transgenderism. The IRE explains,

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).

Thankfully, the veto override called for by conservative individuals and advocacy groups may soon come to fruition.

The Ohio House of Representatives recently returned to the state capitol early to attempt to override the governor’s veto. It remains to be seen whether the House has enough votes to do so.

If you live in Ohio, take 60 seconds to send a message to your state senator and representative to encourage them to act quickly and override the governor. You can help protect kids from dangerous puberty-blocking drugs, wrong-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries, and preserve the integrity of women’s sports by protecting female athletes from having to compete against biological males.

Click here to contact your legislators.

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:

Override the Governor’s Veto of H.B. 68.

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

Ohio Governor Vetoes Bill Protecting Children and Women’s Sports

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