A new bill in the Ohio House would prevent doctors from prescribing drugs to delay puberty or perform surgery to change a child’s gender. The bill is similar to ones proposed in at least eight other states.
The bill, which is still being drafted, is sponsored by state Reps. Bill Dean (R-Xenia) and Ron Hood (R-Ashville).
A group of parents spoke at the Ohio Statehouse this week in favor of the legislation. Maria—who doesn't want to use her full name—says doctors told her that her child was transgender. She says she believes medical professionals are experimenting with drugs and surgery on children like hers and forcing their parents into silence.
“They are afraid they will lose their jobs," she says. "They are afraid of trans activists that will find them and threaten them into silence. And we are afraid for our lives. But we are terrified that if this treatment continues as it is, we will be part of a medical catastrophe that this world has never seen."
Conservative group Citizens for Community Values, which supports the bill, helped organize the event. None of the parents' children were present at the press conference.
Dr. Scott Leibowitz with Nationwide Children’s Hospital says in a written statement that evidence published by mainstream medical associations shows kids are receiving care that promotes healthy outcomes. Equality Ohio and TransOhio also oppose the bill.
"These types of legislative efforts pit the Hippocratic oath against the law, something that no medical or other healthcare professional should have to choose between. Evidence-based policy statements and clinical guidelines—published by every mainstream pediatric medical professional association—speak for themselves and are paving the path for minors to receive care that promotes the healthy outcomes the youth deserve," Leibowitz wrote.
Alana Jochum, executive director of Equality Ohio, said that the bill would ensure "burden and harassment" for young LGBTQ people.
"Kids have it hard enough without Ohio House Representatives Hood and Dean invading their pediatrician’s appointment," Jochum wrote. "Here’s what I know about youth: They have the best environment to thrive when they are supported and can get the health care they need."
James Knapp, chair of TransOhio, blasted the proposal as well.
“Every year, TransOhio partners with hospitals and local physicians to provide cultural competency training to medical students and to discuss current best practices for transgender and nonbinary patients," Knapp wrote. "This bill does nothing to protect our youth. Instead, it takes important decision-making power out of the hands of young patients, their parents, and their doctors, and gives it to politicians who do not understand their health concerns or needs. TransOhio stands with trans and nonbinary youth.”