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Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio.NBC4 Columbus / YouTube

COLUMBUS, Ohio (LifeSiteNews) – Moderate Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is under fire for vetoing legislation that would have protected minors from life-changing gender “transition” procedures and reserved gender-specific school athletic programs for actual members of their designated sex.

HB 68, the Saving Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, would have forbidden courts from considering a parents’ refusal to affirm a child’s gender confusion as weighing against their parental rights, prohibited physicians from physically or chemically “transitioning” minors, required mental health professionals to check for other mental health disorders before diagnosing a minor with a condition related to gender confusion, and banned schools and interscholastic athletic organizations from allowing biological males from participating in athletic teams intended for biological females.

On December 29, DeWine vetoed the bill, claiming to have spoken with “many parents” who insisted their children “would be dead today if they had not received the treatment they received,” and that to sign HB 68 “would be saying that the State, that the government, knows what is best medically for a child rather than the two people who love that child the most, the parents.” 

He also claimed to “share a number of” the concerns raised by the bill’s proponents and “agree that action is necessary regarding a number of issues raised.” To that end, DeWine said he was directing relevant agencies to “begin work on administrative rules” to address some of them, including that “no surgery of this kind should ever be performed on those under the age of 18.”

Many conservatives and Republicans slammed DeWine for the veto and found his explanation lacking. 

Presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis both criticized him, the former declaring “I won’t be introducing him any more” at rallies and the latter noting that in Florida he signed the policies Ohio’s governor rejected: 

Two prominent activists against gender ideology, collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines and “detransitioner” (individuals who attempted to live under a different “gender identity” before embracing their sex) Chloe Cole, also spoke out via social media:

“Minors cannot drive cars, purchase cigarettes, or consume alcohol legally. Parents cannot take newborn infants home from the hospital without a car seat or allow children to ride in an automobile without a seatbelt,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said. “Yet, in the absence of this legislation, there is a green light to alter, and even do irreversible harm, to children’s bodies. This is medical experimentation on minors, pure and simple.”

Republican state Rep. Gary Click, who sponsored HB 68, credited the governor’s motives as pure but said it was “abundantly clear” that DeWine’s “heart was moved by those who spoke to him concerning the loss of life through suicide. Any reasonable person has the same reaction, and he cannot be blamed for that. My initial reaction was no different. However, multiple conversations with professionals and families who felt manipulated by similar rhetoric brought a more in-depth understanding of the time-tested best practices in suicide prevention.”

Studies find that more than 80% of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence, and that even full “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm and suicide — and may even exacerbate it, including by reinforcing their confusion and neglecting the actual root causes of their mental strife.

Many oft-ignored detransitioners have attested to the physical and mental harm of reinforcing gender confusion, as well as to the bias and negligence of the medical establishment on the subject, many of whom take an activist approach to their profession and begin cases with a predetermined conclusion that “transitioning” is the best solution.

Some such physicians have also been caught on video admitting to more old-fashioned motives for such procedures, as with an exposé last year about Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Clinic for Transgender Health, where Dr. Shayne Sebold Taylor said outright that “these surgeries make a lot of money.”

Meanwhile, mandatory inclusion of gender-confused individuals in opposite-sex sports is promoted as a matter of “inclusivity,” but critics note that indulging “transgender” athletes undermines the original rational basis for having sex-specific athletics in the first place, thereby depriving female athletes of recognition and professional or academic opportunities. 

There have been numerous high-profile examples in recent years of men winning women’s competitions, and research affirms that physiology gives males distinct athletic advantages that cannot be fully negated by hormone suppression.

In a 2019 paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men [do] not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy;” therefore, “the advantage to transwomen [biological men] afforded by the [International Olympic Committee] guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

DeWine has a history of snubbing efforts in previous legislative sessions to enact stand-alone bills protecting women’s sports.