Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order on Friday that will immediately ban gender-affirming surgeries for minors within the state, making Ohio the second state in the nation to ban the procedure.
DeWine’s decision comes about a week after the Republican governor vetoed a bill that would have banned all gender-affirming care for minors, from surgeries to hormone blockers. But then, after the rest of his party threatened to override his veto, DeWine did something unexpected. He went above and beyond the original bill, restricting some access to gender-affirming care for adults as well.
Under the new set of administrative rules, both minors and adults seeking any gender-affirming care will require sign-offs by multidisciplinary teams. That team could include (but is not limited to) an endocrinologist, a bioethicist, and a psychiatrist, DeWine explained during a news conference on Friday. The new rules will be enforced by the Ohio Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“Candidly, which I expressed a week ago, I am concerned that there could be fly-by-night providers, clinics that might be dispensing medication to adults with no counseling and no basic standards to assure quality care,” DeWine said.
Trans adults will also have to undergo a “lengthy” period of mental health counseling before seeking care.
The new steep barrier of entry—which is not required in most states across the nation—will likely tack on incredible medical expenses, only further limiting access to what is often viewed as lifesaving care for transgender individuals.
It’s not clear why DeWine suddenly had a change of heart and decided to expand restrictions on gender-affirming care to Ohioans of all ages.
Last week, DeWine spoke in support of trans rights, saying he heard the cries of parents with transgender children before making the decision to veto the previous Republican bill.
“I’ll never forget what so many of them told me. They said, ‘Governor, but for this, my child would be dead by now. My child would have committed suicide,” DeWine told local news outlet WTRF.