(CTN News) – On Friday morning, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine vetoed House Bill 68, stating that the decision to provide gender-affirming care for transgender teens should be made by parents rather than the state.
DeWine acknowledged that there is no evidence of physicians in Ohio offering transgender care to teenagers, but he plans to issue an order prohibiting such surgeries without parental consent.
DeWine emphasized that his decision was driven by the desire to protect human life and respect parental decision-making. However, he did not address the provision in House Bill 68 that would ban transgender athletes from participating in girls’ high school sports.
The veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote from both the Ohio House and Senate, both of which have a veto-proof supermajority. Mike DeWine also expressed his willingness to work with legislators on implementing administrative rules that would require counseling for teenagers seeking transgender care.
State Representative Gary Click, a Baptist preacher from Fremont, Ohio, introduced the bill with the support of the majority of the Republican supermajority in the Ohio House. Throughout the legislative process, 21 Ohio medical institutions testified against House Bill 68 during committee hearings.
Earlier this month, the Ohio Senate approved House Bill 68 with a vote of 23-8, with one northeast Ohio Republican dissenting. The bill was then sent to the governor’s desk, giving Governor Mike DeWine 10 days to decide whether to sign, veto, or let the bill become law without his signature.
Governor Mike DeWine took the entire duration of the 10-day period to carefully consider his decision. The final day of this period was Friday.
Throughout the week, Governor Mike DeWine stated in an interview with Ohio Public Radio that he used this time to thoroughly examine the matter. He made an effort to gather as many facts as possible about the bill.
DeWine mentioned that he visited Akron Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, engaging with individuals directly involved in the program. He conducted these visits on three separate occasions. Additionally, he had open and honest conversations with individuals who testified in favor of the bill.
Opponents of the bill argued that minors in Ohio already need Mike DeWine’s parental consent for transgender operations and that there are only six transgender athletes in Ohio schools.