What’s next for Ohio’s trans athlete, healthcare bill after Statehouse override

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A new law for transgender athletes and minors seeking gender-affirming care will be enacted in a few months after state lawmakers overrode Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of House Bill 68.

“We’re really let down,” said Maria Bruno, Equality Ohio Public Policy Director. “We had conversations that left us with some hope that [Republican lawmakers] were listening to doctors and hospitals and people who receive gender affirming care. Their political ambitions are more important than kids’ lives.”

“There is a line, that the state legislature and sometimes executive authority, has to draw on protection of children,” said Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima).

While H.B. 68’s effective date is in less than three months, Bruno said this is not where things end.

“The fight is absolutely not over,” she said. “Several legal options are being explored and I’m sure you’ll hear more about that when the time is right.”

“I do think it will pass constitutional scrutiny,” Huffman said.

When DeWine vetoed the bill, he also enacted emergency rules and is working on more in the area of gender-affirming care; now, there will be two sets of laws on the books come April 24.

“It’s definitely very confusing,” Bruno said.

“When there’s overlap and action on two different things, there’s confusion,” Huffman said.

H.B. 68 bans trans athletes from participating on teams that align with their gender identity and bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care. DeWine’s executive order that is currently active bans gender transition surgeries for minors. Now, he is working on rules to require mental health counseling before adults seek gender-affirming care.

“The whole goal candidly, was pretty simple, and that was to make sure that before anyone actually starts on medication that they have some counseling,” DeWine said. “It’s abundantly clear that good medical practice, at the start, needs to include counseling.”

“It’s much more expansive than even what House Bill 68 addressed because it goes into regulated adult care,” Bruno said. “They might not be making things illegal but they’re going to make things so logistically difficult to be able to actually provide services that they functionally have shut down the care.”

DeWine said what his office has drafted is not set in stone, and noted he has received an “unprecedented” number of comments about the rules.

“You are going to see some revisions of this that we put forward fairly quickly,” DeWine said.

In the meantime, Bruno said she has spoken to several trans adults who are worridd that they may have to leave the state, depending on what DeWine enacts.

“if they could no longer receive medical care in the state, I do think you would see many transgender pope forced to leave the state,” Bruno said.

“We don’t want to interfere with people, but we want to make sure that good medical practice is followed,” DeWine said.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to NBC4 WCMH-TV.