Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday that he vetoed a bill that would have banned gender transition medical treatments for minors, such as puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and surgery.
The legislation would have also barred boys claiming to be girls from competing in girls sports.
The bill passed the Ohio legislature earlier this month and had been sitting on DeWine’s desk for 11 days awaiting his signature.
Friday was the last day he could veto it before it became law.
“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 love that child the most — the parents,” DeWine said during his announcement.
“This bill would impact a very small number of Ohio’s children, but for those children who face gender dysphoria, and for their families, the consequences of this bill could not be more profound,” he explained.
DeWine recounted in talking to parents, and those who had received hormone blocking treatments, they called them a life saver.
“Ultimately, I believe this is about protecting human life,” he said. “Many parents have told me that their child would not have survived — would be dead today — if they had not received the treatment they received from one of Ohio’s children’s hospitals.”
“I’ve also been told by those who are now grown adults that, but for this care, they would have taken their lives when they were teenagers,” he said.
“I cannot sign this bill as is currently written,” DeWine said, “and just a few minutes ago, I vetoed the bill.”
However, the governor did say that he “adamantly agrees” no child under 18 should undergo transitional surgery. He added that he believes a number of issues brought up in the bill could be handled by executive branch administrative rules rather than by law.
State legislators can override the governor’s veto with a three-fifth’s vote in both the Ohio Senate and the House.
The Associated Press reported that those opposed to HB 68, including some in the mental health and medical fields, decried it as “cruel, life threatening to transgender youth and based on fearmongering rather than science.”
The LGBT advocacy group, The Human Rights Campaign praised DeWine’s decision.
“Ohio families don’t want politicians meddling in decisions that should be between parents, their kids and their doctors,” Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said.
“Instead, parents, schools and doctors should all do everything they can to make all youth, including transgender youth, feel loved and accepted, and politicians should not be making it harder for young trans Ohioans.”
Former college swimmer Riley Gaines, who was forced to complete against a male in last year’s NCAA finals, responded strongly to DeWine’s decision.
“Governor Mike DeWine has vetoed HB 68, a bill that would protect women’s sports and prevent child mutilation. Fortunately, Ohio has the votes to override the veto,” she wrote.
Governor Mike DeWine has vetoed HB 68, a bill that would protect women’s sports and prevent child mutilation. Fortunately, Ohio has the votes to override the veto. @GovMikeDeWine is a spineless coward that needs to be removed from office. pic.twitter.com/u4fGJiF8C0
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) December 29, 2023
She added that DeWine “is a spineless coward that needs to be removed from office.”
HB 68 sponsor Rep. Gary Click responded to DeWine’s veto saying in a statement, “I spoke with the Governor this morning, and it’s clear that we share a common passion for children. Even in moments when we disagree on policy, I have never questioned his heart or his character.”
“It is abundantly clear that the Governor’s heart was moved by those who spoke to him concerning the loss of life through suicide. Any reasonable person has the same reaction, and he cannot be blamed for that. My initial reaction was no different,” Click continued.
“However, multiple conversations with professionals and families who felt manipulated by similar rhetoric brought a more in-depth understanding of the time-tested best practices in suicide prevention,” the representative said.
Click expressed confidence that he would be able to work with the governor going forward to find a “common solution.”
The governor did not end the dialogue today. He joined it. I look forward to our discussions. There remains much more to say and do. A veto is not the final word. We still have e options. #SAFEAct #SaveWomensSports #HB68 https://t.co/vOEXKCczkI
— Rep Gary Click (@clickforohio) December 29, 2023
The lawmaker also expressed concern that the issue of men competing in women’s sports remained unresolved.
“Our young women should not need to wait another day for equality, dignity, and privacy in the athletic arena. They have been put on hold for far too long. It is difficult to watch Ohio’s women experience yet one more delay in the rights they deserve,” Click said.
The Hill reported that DeWine is the second Republican governor to veto a bill regarding minors receiving transition medical treatments.
Then-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed the nation’s first such ban in 2021.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.