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Student Senate condemns proposed ban on affirmative care for minors

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Student Senate. Photo by Tim Zelina.

Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday condemning a bill recently introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives to outlaw medical treatment, such as hormone therapy, for minors with gender dysphoria.

House Bill 513 allows parents the right to deny their children gender or sexuality-related therapy and forbids doctors from engaging affirmative care.

Student Senate’s resolution admonished the legislature to focus on “bills based in science and not just discrimination,” according to the body’s resolution. Student senators spoke of their displeasure with the bill.

“I think it’s important that as a body we’re sending this message to legislators because it will affect kids both in Ohio and potentially kids here on campus that aren’t 18 yet,” said Senator Faith Laughlin, who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community.

Under current law, Ohio doctors are able to practice affirmative care — procedures in which the gender identity of minors is reinforced with medical procedures like testosterone blockers intended to delay the onset of puberty. 

The bill also bars doctors from several other unorthodox treatments such as “restraining the minor with ties or harnesses,” and “wrapping the minors hands in heat coils,” according to the legislation’s language. Neither of these acts are recommended in the 2018 transgender minors care policy outline developed by the American Society of Pediatrics (ASP) for treatment of gender dysphoria. 

Under the bill, doctors who violate the law would be eligible to be sued in civil court by their patients and the parents of their patients. The state would also be able to revoke their medical license and charge them with either a third degree felony or a misdemeanor, depending on which treatment they recommended.

Ohio residents are unable to receive hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery until they are 18, even with parent permission, but children are able to receive medication to delay the effects of puberty.

Affirmative care, however, is recommended by the ASP for treatment of minors with gender dysphoria. 

Reps. Ron Hood (R-78) and Bill Dean (R-74) introduced the bill to the Ohio House Feb. 19. Nine other legislators cosponsored the bill — all are Republicans. 

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