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Ohio lawmakers vote to override governor’s veto of ban on gender-affirming care for minors

The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate voted on Wednesday to override GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a ban on gender-affirming care for minors.

The 23-9 Senate vote comes after the state House of Representatives, which also has a GOP majority, voted 65-28 earlier this month to override the veto. The governor vetoed the legislation last month, saying the state should not be making medical decisions for children.

House Bill 68 prohibits gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth, including hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy, medical or surgical procedures and some mental health services. It also prevents transgender athletes from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams.

The ban is set to take effect in 90 days.

Gender-affirming care for minors has become a polarizing issue in many states, with several Republican-led states passing bans and other restrictions, arguing that that they protect children. Ohio now joins state legislatures in North Carolina and Louisiana in overriding its governor’s veto to enact restrictions on transgender youth.

The care spans a range of evidence-based treatments and approaches that benefit transgender and nonbinary people. The types of care vary by the age and goals of the recipient, and are considered the standard of care by many mainstream medical associations.

DeWine announced in late December that he would veto the ban, sharing that trans adults and parents of trans youth had told him how lifesaving gender-affirming care could be, and his move was applauded by LGBTQ+ advocates.

But he signed an executive order earlier this month banning gender-transition surgeries for minors, though he acknowledged they are rarely performed on children.

DeWine’s office told CNN following Wednesday’s vote that the governor has no new comments and that “his previous comments on the bill [and] his veto reflect his position on the issue.”

Following the state House vote earlier this month, DeWine said he continued to “believe it is in the best interests of children for these medical decisions to be made by the child’s parents and not by the government.”

Republican state Rep. Gary Click, the bill’s primary sponsor, celebrated Wednesday’s Senate vote, while noting that “this battle between the legislative and executive branches was over policy but not personality.” He added that he is “confident that Governor DeWine acted from his heart” and “did what he felt was right.”

“The legislature, however, felt just as strongly if not more so that HB 68 was imperative to save lives, uphold medical ethics, and reaffirm women’s rights,” Click said in a statement shared on X. “The citizens of Ohio were unequivocal in their demand that the legislature act and we did.”

Transgender rights have become a divisive issue in many states and 2023 saw a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills, many of which target gender-affirming care and sports participation. With the Ohio legislature’s vote, at least 20 states now restrict gender-affirming care for minors.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Jay Croft and Jeff Winter contributed to this report.

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