Changes to Ohio gender bill means another meeting

(The Center Square) – A bill that would have banned gender reassignment surgery for minors remains alive in the Ohio House but without the ban and with a parental notification requirement.

After hours of opponent testimony and amendments earlier this week, a sixth hearing would have to come before possible committee passage and a full House vote.

House Bill 454, known as the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, now, if passed and signed into law, would allow the surgery or a referral for a minor to a mental health professional but require parental notification.

Also, it would require patients to wait two years for medical treatment regarding gender dysphoria and require patients to be eliminated by a mental health professional.

The hearing, which was interrupted by shouting from the gallery by members of the public opposed to the bill, lasted more than two hours and included written and oral testimony from more than 100 people.

Wednesday’s testimony came from those entirely in opposition to the bill, with close to 300 either testifying in person or submitting testimony, including the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, the ACLU, the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians.

Nick Lashutka, president and CEO of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, testified saying, “We understand many of you are concerned with the rise in youth that identify as transgender in recent years. There are many reasons for this. These youth existed before we established our gender clinics, and they will exist if our clinics are forced to close. With any other condition, if we saw a marked increase in youth presenting with symptoms, we would study the situation, not ban treatment.

“We cannot emphasize enough that Ohio’s children’s hospitals today maintain a cautious, rigorous approach rooted in behavioral health. Our established standards of care ensure youth are not self-diagnosing or self-medicating. No gender-affirming medical care of minors ever occurs in our hospitals without their parent or legal guardian’s consent”

A date for the bill’s sixth hearing was not immediately set. Both the House and Senate remain in lame duck session, and the two-year General Assembly session ends next month.