Columbus, OH – Following his veto of Ohio House Bill 68, a bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender people under 18, Governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order and proposed restrictions on care for transgender people that, in practice, could amount to a de facto ban on care for transgender youth and adults. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction proposal is subject to public comment until January 19, and the Ohio Department of Health proposal is subject to public comment until February 5.  

The restrictions would prohibit most primary care providers from providing hormone treatments to transgender people of any age, enforce a list of cumbersome requirements unfounded by medical evidence, and threaten to shut down care across the state. If allowed to go into effect, the regulations would force thousands of transgender Ohioans to go without health care treatments they and their doctors know they need to live.  

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Ohio condemned the proposal: 

“In one fell swoop, these proposals could threaten the lives and well-being of transgender youth and adults across the state and needlessly insert politicians and bureaucracy between them and their doctors. This is a dangerous escalation and unfounded effort to control Ohioans’ bodies, lives, and futures. In the interest of protecting transgender people's lives and their fundamental right to self-determination, these radical and life-threatening proposals must not be allowed to move forward. Ohio voters just made clear at the ballot box that government officials should not be involved in private healthcare decisions; these matters should be left to families and doctors, not politicians.” 

While 22 states have passed age restrictions on gender-affirming care, only Florida has adopted restrictions that attempt to deny care to transgender people of any age. Most transgender people already struggle to access the care they need by virtue of poverty, discrimination, and a shortage of providers.  

Gender-affirming care as treatment for gender dysphoria is broadly supported across the entire medical mainstream, including by the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association.  

The ACLU of Ohio will file a public comment with an additional policy analysis ahead of the deadlines.