Republican lawmakers in Ohio plan to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a bill that would prevent doctors from performing transgender surgeries and providing gender transition drugs to children.
The legislation would prohibit all “gender reassignment surgery” performed on minors and prohibit puberty-blocking drugs for children.
DeWine, a Republican and a Catholic, broke from his party and vetoed the bill but could face an attempt at a veto override as early as next week. House leadership moved up the start date of their next session to Wednesday, Jan. 10, to consider a vote. The Senate is scheduled to meet on Jan. 24 unless the chamber’s leadership also moves up the date.
Republican lawmakers appear to have the votes necessary to override the governor’s veto if most lawmakers who initially backed the legislation vote for the veto override. The bill passed the Senate 24-8 and the House 62-27. To override the veto, Republicans would need to secure a three-fifths vote in both chambers, which requires 20 votes in the Senate and 59 votes in the House.
“We’ve got the votes — time to overrule the governor’s veto!” Rep. Angie King said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement that DeWine’s veto was “a sad day for Ohio” and urged Republicans to support an effort to override his veto.
“The harmful gender ideology sweeping across our nation creates a growing and urgent need for legislative protection of children vulnerable to life-altering procedures such as puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries,” Perkins said.
“Research has not shown that these procedures are effective in improving a patient’s mental health. They have serious negative side effects, up to and including permanent sterilization — thus violating the most fundamental principle of medical ethics, ‘First, do no harm.’”
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, both Republicans, voiced support for Republican efforts to override the governor’s veto.
In an explanation accompanying his veto, DeWine said that he agreed with lawmakers that “no surgery of this kind should ever be performed on those under the age of 18.” However, he did not agree with other aspects of the bill and argued that the prohibition on surgeries could be accomplished through executive action via regulatory agencies.
“Many parents have told me that their child would be dead today if they had not received the treatment they received from an Ohio children’s hospital,” DeWine said in his veto message. “I have also been told, by those that are now grown adults, that but for this care, they would have taken their lives when they were teenagers.”
DeWine added that he would direct agencies to draft rules that require reporting to relevant agencies on data related to people who receive transgender medical services.
“I truly believe that we can collaborate, find common ground, [and] adopt rules to protect Ohio children and families in this area,” the governor said. “It will be my goal in the coming weeks to get these protections adopted through a collaborative and deliberative process.”
The legislation would prohibit the removal of genitals or any surgeries that sterilize the child, the removal of healthy female breasts, or surgeries that would make the child’s genitals or chest appear like that of the opposite sex. The bill also bans any form of surgery to change the child’s aesthetics to facilitate a gender transition.
Doctors would also be prohibited from providing puberty-blocking drugs or any other drugs that attempt to facilitate a gender transition. They would also not be allowed to provide hormone treatments that are meant to facilitate a gender transition by increasing the estrogen in boys or the testosterone in girls to levels that would be higher than the normal level for a boy or a girl at his or her age and sex.
The legislation includes exceptions for children born with a sex development disorder or who have irrevocably ambiguous sex characteristics. It also provides exceptions for surgeries that are medically necessary to treat an infection, injury, disease, or disorder.
In addition to prohibiting gender transition surgery and drugs for children, the legislation would establish rules for gender-specific athletics in high schools and colleges. It would require that only biological girls and women can play in female sports and prohibit biological males who identify as girls or women from female athletics competitions.