Ohio Lawmakers to Introduce Bill Barring Certain Medical Care for Transgender Minors

The proposed law by Republican state lawmakers would levy legal penalties against doctors who provide hormone therapy or surgery to transgender minors seeking to transition

Feb 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm
click to enlarge State Rep. Ron Hood - Ohio House of Representatives
Ohio House of Representatives
State Rep. Ron Hood

Conservative lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives will introduce a bill that prohibits doctors from prescribing hormones or performing gender confirmation surgery for minors who identify as transgender.

Republican State Reps. Bill Dean and Ron Hood say the bill is still being drafted. They held a news conference Tuesday in Columbus with supporters of the bill, including two parents, Columbus-based pediatrician John Wells Logan and conservative activist group Citizens for Community Values. 

According to the lawmakers, the "Protect Vulnerable Children Act" would levy legal penalties against doctors who provide the gender-based treatments to those under 18. 

“What we’re trying to accomplish in this bill is that these procedures cannot be done. It would cause sterilization, irreparable damage to children that can’t be reversed,” Hood told media at the news event in Columbus. “That’s what makes this such a problem. Decisions made in childhood that are very, very permanent and cause sterilization cannot be reversed.”

Some medical and LGBTQ rights groups have sounded staunch opposition to the proposed law, however, noting that gender reassignment surgeries for those under 18 are exceedingly rare and that hormone therapies are generally reversible. Some physicians and mental health experts also say that such therapies can lower risk of suicide among minors who identify as transgender.

“Evidence-based policy statements and clinical guidelines––published by every mainstream pediatric medical professional association––speak for themselves and are paving the path for minors to receive care that promotes the healthy outcomes the youth deserve,” Nationwide Children's Hospital THRIVE Gender Development Program Medical Director Dr. Scott Leibowitz said in a statement.

Leibowitz argues that the legislation would put doctors in a position of choosing between the Hippocratic Oath and the law.

Ten other states have recently considered or are still considering similar bans, including Kentucky. A bill banning procedures related to gender transition for minors passed the South Dakota House of Representatives last month, but was voted down in the state Senate.