Jan 5, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Ohio governor bans transition-related surgeries for minors

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at a campaign stop in Moraine, Ohio, on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed an executive order on Friday that bans transition-related surgeries for minors and announced separate restrictions that will severely limit access for adults and youth in receiving transition-related care.

The big picture: The Ohio ban comes amid a growing number of states authorizing restrictions on gender-affirming care.

Details: The executive order, which went into effect immediately, bans "gender transition surgeries for minors at any hospital or ambulatory surgical facility in Ohio," DeWine told reporters on Friday.

  • DeWine said that the Ohio Department of Health and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services would be, after a period of public comment, filing rules regarding adults and children in the state trying to obtain transition-related care.

Without presenting evidence, the Ohio Republican said he was concerned "there might be these fly-by-night operations that set themselves up and start dispensing hormones but without the lead-in psychiatric care that we know is so very, very important."

Those new rules would require "a multi-disciplinary team to support an individual through care including, but not limited to, an endocrinologist, a bioethicist and a psychiatrist," according to DeWine.

  • It would also require "a comprehensive care plan that includes sufficient, informed consent from patients and parents, if we're dealing with a child, of the risk associated with treatment," DeWine said.
  • He added that the new rules would require "comprehensive and lengthy mental health counseling prior to being considered for any other treatment."

Catch up quick: Last week, DeWine entered the political fray by vetoing a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors.

  • That bill would have also curtailed the ability of transgender girls to participate on school sports teams.
  • The proposed legislation, despite being vetoed, could still pass if members of the Ohio legislature were to override it.

Zoom in: According to independent reporter and civil rights activist Erin Reed, there have been at least 125 bills targeting the transgender community in just the first days of 2024.

Of note: Major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, consider this type of care to be medically necessary and potentially lifesaving for transgender youth.

Go deeper: Axios Explains: Gender-affirming care in the U.S.

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