Ohio House to try veto override Wednesday to unblock minor gender affirming care ban

Chamber needs super majority

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Republican leadership in the Ohio House say the chamber will meet Wednesday with the goal of overriding fellow Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto on House Bill 68.

H.B. 68 would ban minors from undergoing gender affirming hormone treatments and surgeries in Ohio, as well as forbid transgender girls from participating in girl’s and women’s school sports. Also known as the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” the bill passed both the House and Senate with over three-fifths support over the summer.

When asked if there’s enough support within the GOP caucus to eclipse the three-fifths vote required to override DeWine’s veto, House Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, told reporters on Tuesday, “As long as there’s not a snowstorm.”

Stephens said he sees overriding the veto as what’s best for Ohio children.

“There are really good people on both sides who have different opinions on this issue,” Stephens said. “I think you would have a lot of people who support the bill and the override who are honestly (thinking), ‘This is what we believe is best to protect kids.”

The bill would ban medical practitioners from administering puberty blockers and masculinizing or feminizing hormones as a means to treat gender dysphoria in minors, although the bill does allow for transgender minors already undergoing treatment to continue their care.

It would also ban gender affirming surgeries for minors, which includes both “bottom” (genital reconstruction) and “top” (mastectomies or implants) procedures.

While the state’s children’s hospitals have asserted that minors with gender dysphoria in their care do not get gender affirming surgeries, nor would the hospital explicitly sanction the surgeries, it is possible for minors to get double mastectomies from individual plastic surgeons in the state under current law.

In his veto in the final days of 2023, DeWine said he met with advocates on both sides of the issue to inform his opinion. He determined that gender affirming hormone treatments for minors can be lifesaving and issued his veto to preserve the practice while placing strict standards of care that might prove to have a chilling effect throughout the state for both adults and minors.

DeWine said that surgeries for minors goes too far and issued administrative rules earlier this month to block any such surgeries moving forward.

Stephens said DeWine’s administrative rules did little to sway the bulk of the GOP, who swiftly and staunchly voiced their disappointment with Ohio’s Republican governor soon after his veto. Local lawmakers in the House and Senate told this news organization last week that DeWine’s actions were “too little, too late.”

“It’s ready to be in the law as far as our members are concerned,” Stephens said Tuesday.

The House will vote on the override and a number of bills in its session starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The Senate is likely to take up the override when it reconvenes on Jan. 24.

Follow DDN statehouse reporter Avery Kreemer on X or reach out to him at Avery.Kreemer@coxinc.com or at 614-981-1422.

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