Republican Lawmakers In Ohio Unveil New Bill Targeting Transgender Children

A new Republican-sponsored bill would ban children under age 18 from obtaining hormones treatments, puberty blockers and surgery to transition genders, even with parental consent.

House Bill 454, called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, is sponsored by a quarter of the Ohio House, all Republicans.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Gary Click of Sandusky County and Diane Grendell of Geauga County, aims to prevent gender-affirming health of youth under 18 through a handful of actions including restrictions on private insurance plans and Ohio Medicaid, potential sanctions on the licenses of medical professionals, potential cuts to public funding of hospitals and clinics, limits to what a school official can keep from parents when a child shares their gender identity in private.

Aaron Baer, president of the Center for Christian Virtue, a Christian conservative policy organization, said that his group is championing the bill in Ohio and helped draft HB 454.

The bill contains the same provisions as Arkansas’ SAFE Act, which Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed on April 5. A day later, the legislature overrode the veto. On July 21, a federal judge stopped the bill from going into effect as a lawsuit over its constitutionality winds its way through the courts.

Maria Bruno, Equality Ohio’s public policy director, said it’s appalling to see Ohio children being used as political pawns by lawmakers seeking re-election.

“This bill attempts to ban evidence-based medical treatment that is supported by medical professionals, including but not limited to the American Academy of Pediatricians, the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association,” she said.

Equality Ohio notes that the bill could be blocked by a judge in Ohio too, as it was in Arkansas.

“If HB 454 moves forward, Ohio taxpayers will be footing the bill when valid legal challenges undoubtedly arise,” Bruno said. “We hope the majority of Ohio’s lawmakers will see through this political grandstanding and reject this illegal, cruel attempt to harm transgender youth in Ohio.”

“Under the bill, medical professionals such as doctors, mental health providers and others who provide gender transition procedures to kids could be subject to discipline by their licensing entity for unprofessional conduct,” reports Cleveland.com. “The bill would prohibit nurses, counselors, teachers, principals and other staff at public and private schools from withholding from a child’s parents or guardian that the child believes they might be transgender. The school workers also wouldn’t be allowed to encourage the child to withhold the information from their parents or guardian.”

They add: “Insurance plans and Ohio Medicaid would not be able to reimburse health care providers for gender-transition services. If the bill passed, the state could cease public funding to any hospital, clinic or other facilities that provide gender transition services to a minor.”