Ohio bans transgender drugs and surgery for children under 18 and blocks trans kids from participating in girls’ sports

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Ohio has outlawed transgender drugs and surgery for children under the age of 18 and blocked trans youngsters from participating in girls’ sports.

The state’s legislature today overrode the Governor and approved the ban that prohibits doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender surgery for minors with gender dysphoria.

The bill will come into force in the next 90 days, with doctors who continue to provide care for minors risking losing their medical licenses.

The bill had originally been vetoed by Republican Governor Mike DeWine – but his intervention was overridden when a majority in the state’s GOP-controlled House and Senate voted to overturn the veto.

Ohio has become the 23rd state to ban transgender care for minors, amid a wave of laws passed by Republican-controlled legislatures in recent years. It is also the 24th to outlaw trans girls from participating in sports at the high school and college level.

Pictured above is Republican state governor Mike DeWine who vetoed the legislation. His veto has now been overruled

A young man, known only as Kobe, has revealed he bitterly regrets gender-affirming surgery after realizing he was not a woman but an effeminate gay man

Kayla Lovdahl, now 18 and from California, is suing Kaiser Permanente claiming she was 'pushed' into surgery to have her breasts removed

A young man, known only as Kobe, has revealed he bitterly regrets gender-affirming surgery after realizing he was not a woman but an effeminate gay man. Kayla Lovdahl, now 18 and from California, is suing Kaiser Permanente claiming she was ‘pushed’ into surgery to have her breasts removed

Sponsors of the bill said it was necessary because parents were being ‘manipulated’ by doctors to get transgender care for their children. 

But campaigners hit back at the move, arguing politicians should not be involved in the ‘private medical decisions’ of families.

Medical bodies like the American Academy of Pediatrics say children should be offered gender-affirming care, and that to withhold it amounts to ‘state-sanctioned neglect and emotional abuse’.

But healthcare experts in other countries have slammed the leading organization’s comments as unethical and irresponsible and focused more on the politics of the moment than medicine.

The US has become a political outlier among Western nations on the issue, with other nations including France, the UK and Sweden all pausing puberty-blocking drugs and surgeries in minors amid concerns over the long-term mental and physical effects.

The editor of a prestigious medical journal also warned early last year that American children with gender dysphoria were being rushed into surgeries without psychological support.

Dr Kamran Abbasi, who is editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal, also said that the approach taken by US doctors was ‘not in line with the strength of the evidence’.

There has also been a spate of American children coming forward who were rushed into gender-affirming surgeries who say they want the treatments reversed.

Among them was a young man, known only as Kobe, who said he bitterly regrets being castrated by doctors after realizing he was just an ‘effeminate’ gay boy who enjoyed playing with Barbies — rather than a woman — and Kayla Lovdahl from California, who is suing Kaiser Permanente claiming she was ‘pushed’ into transitioning into a man and having surgery to remove her breasts. Luka Hein from Minnesota has also sued a doctor for cutting off her breasts when she was just 16 years old.

The Ohio bill was passed by both the Republican-controlled House and Senate in December, but was then vetoed by state Governor of the same party Mike DeWine.

After speaking to families with transgender children, he said the bill should not be passed because it was as though the state was saying it ‘knew better’ than doctors and parents on what is best for a child.

He was then attacked by Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, who alleged the Governor had ‘fallen to the radical left’. He urged the state to overturn the veto.

A Governor’s veto can be overturned in Ohio if three-fifths of both the Senate and the House vote in favor of the move. 

Astrid Burkle, aged 10, is seen with her sister Abs, mother Alicia and father Aaron

Astrid Burkle, aged 10, is seen with her sister Abs, mother Alicia and father Aaron

The House voted to overturn the veto on January 10, by 65 to 28, and the Senate approved the measure today by 23 to 9.

The state has about 8,500 children aged 13 to 17 years who identify as transgender, according to estimates by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, law school.

There are also about 46,500 adults living in the state who identify as transgender, they say.

Medical interventions for transgender people, particularly youth, are far more controversial than social transitioning, which can include altering the pronouns a person wishes to be called.

Hormone therapies that promote the development of secondary sex characteristics and puberty blockers that give adolescents more time to explore their gender identity, and surgeries to remove one’s breasts or change their genitals are especially contentious given that they can be irreversible.

A proportion of trans youth then undergo surgeries, and some who do opt for this may experience severe complications such as infection, pain, and difficulty using the toilet or with sex post-surgery.

Families that have raised concerns over the Ohio ban include a 10-year-old transgender girl in the state Astrid Burkle — who is on hormone replacement therapy.

Speaking to ABC News, she said she was angry that ‘mean’ people sought to prevent the treatments.

‘It’s been really frustrating at times,’ said Astrid, ‘because there’s just so many people out there who are just really mean’.

Her father and mother said the local community was supportive, but her sister Abs said they may have to leave Ohio if her treatment is blocked.

Ohio has joined the ranks of some 22 other states in restricting transgender care for minors. 

But bans in at least three of the states — including Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama — have been suspended by federal judges while court cases are being heard.

Estimates show that in recent years the rates of gender dysphoria have soared in every state but one — with children under 18 years old now making up a fifth of all new cases each year.

The biggest rises were recorded in Virginia, Indiana and Utah, where rates more than tripled over the five years from 2018 to 2022 — which are Republican states. 

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