Ohio State lawmakers expect to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a bill seeking to protect children from an activist-led transgender medical industry, even as the governor signed an executive order Friday to ban gender surgeries on minors.
“Momentum is on our side, and we will see this through,” said State Rep. Gary Click, R-District 88, in an interview published Wednesday by the Washington Stand, about H.B. 68, which also includes the SAFE Act, legislation that seeks to protect children’s privacy and women’s sports.
“We will win this,” added Click, who is also a baptist pastor and author of the bill, noting that he and his fellow lawmakers will hold a special legislative session focused on overriding the governor’s veto:
I haven’t engaged with hurting families, or tearful victims nor spent sleepless nights and long hours speaking to professionals, leafing through dry medical journals, and well-written books, researching the trends from Ohio to the Netherlands to give up at the one-yard line. The lives and futures of Ohio’s youth are far too precious for me to quit now.
The Ohio Legislature overwhelmingly passed H.B. 68, with a Senate vote of 24-8 and in the House, 62-27. A three-fifths vote of the members of the House and Senate is necessary to override DeWine’s veto.
In an interview Tuesday on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, Click explained he had been trying to “engage with the governor for almost three years on this and I just kept getting … ‘the governor just wants to protect children.’”
Click told Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the real sticking point was that DeWine wanted the bill to allow puberty blockers for children:
The one thing the governor wanted, he wanted me to allow the puberty blockers and I just had to say no. I’ve had to fight that the whole way, every step of the way. And they think only about the sex changes, as far as surgically, but they don’t think about sex changes chemically. And that is the crux of this bill. Unless they do that, they don’t get to the rest of this. And so we tried to prevent it at the beginning of the foundation. As you well know, 85 to 95% of the kids will grow out of their gender dysphoria when they go through puberty. But if they put on the puberty blockers, 98% will go on to the opposite sex hormones and then ultimately later to surgery, and that’s what we’re trying to get ahead of.
Friday the governor announced an executive order to ban transgender surgeries on minors, doubling down on his veto. “A week has gone by, and I still feel just as firmly as I did that day,” he said, according NBC News.
“Ironically, Governor DeWine wants to ban menthol cigarettes to protect adults, but not puberty blockers to protect children,” Perkins pointed out. “Is this strictly a political decision, or what was behind the governor’s rationale here?”
Click responded he believed DeWine was influenced by the suicide threat strategy used by transgender activists to convince parents to allow their child to undergo experimental and life-altering puberty blockers.
However, Dr. Stephen B. Levine of Case Western University, lead researcher of a March 2022 study, noted the “inaccurate” and “incomplete” informed consent process performed by transgender industry staff who engage in the “alarmist” narrative whereby parents are told their reluctance to consent to their child’s transgender medical treatment is likely to result in his or her suicide.
“The question of suicide is inappropriately handled,” Levine and his fellow researchers wrote:
Suicide among trans-identified youth is significantly elevated compared to the general population of youth (Biggs, 2022; de Graaf et al., 2020). However, the “transition or die” narrative, whereby parents are told that their only choice is between a “live trans daughter or a dead son” (or vice-versa), is both factually inaccurate and ethically fraught. Disseminating such alarmist messages hurts the majority of trans-identified youth who are not at risk for suicide. It also hurts the minority who are at risk, and who, as a result of such misinformation, may forgo evidence-based suicide prevention interventions in the false hopes that transition will prevent suicide.
DeWine vetoed the bill on Dec. 29, just prior to the holiday weekend.
In his comments, the governor revealed he was especially influenced by the transgender activist suicide threat strategy.
“Parents looked me in the eye and told me that their child is alive today only because of the gender-affirming care that they have received,” DeWine said. “And youth who have transitioned to a new gender told me that they are thriving today because of that transition.”
A report Friday at the Daily Caller revealed DeWine received over $40,000 in donations between 2018 and 2023 from the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association (OCHA), Cincinnati Children’s, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and ProMedica Children’s Hospital – all supporters of transgender drugs and surgeries for children.
In November 2022, Nick Lashutka, president of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, testified that the bill, then working its way through the Ohio State House, “strips away” the rights of parents with transgender children.
Christian organizations assailed the governor’s veto of the bill.
“Mike DeWine has failed Ohio, and it’s our children who are going to pay the price,” said Center for Christian Virtue President Aaron Baer in a statement. “If the General Assembly does not override his veto, when we look back a generation from now at the thousands of kids who have been sterilized and harmed by dangerous and experimental transgender medical procedures, we will realize that those in power did nothing to stop it.”
“The only people celebrating this veto today are progressive activists who recklessly proclaim children can be ‘born in the wrong bodies’ and the children’s hospitals that are profiting off the sterilization and manipulation of children and parents.”
Matt Sharp, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit that has sought to protect the constitutional rights of female athletes forced to compete against biological males, said DeWine’s veto showed he “ignored the growing body of evidence about the damage that these drugs and surgeries inflict on children’s minds and bodies.”
“And he dismissed the harm to women athletes who are losing spots on the podium and having their athletic opportunities stripped away by policies that allow men to compete on women’s teams,” Sharp added.
On Saturday, Robert A.J. Gagnon, professor of theology at Houston Christian University, also posted on X that Republicans “need to get rid of” DeWine:
He is on the side of child abuse, since no child should be going through surgical mutilation and castration that will have devastating lifelong consequences. The vast majority of children will grow out of their gender dysphoria if not subjected to cross-sex hormones or surgery. And he is on the side of misogyny, for it is manifestly unfair to allow boys to compete in sports against girls, and an assault on female privacy to have boys in female locker rooms.