More than 200 testify against bill limiting health care for LGBTQ youth

Several parents of transgender children have spoken out against a controversial bill limiting health care for LGBTQ+ youth.

They were among more than 200 people who presented testimony Wednesday morning to the House Public Health Committee against House Bill 68, also known as the Save Youth From Experimentation Act (SAFE Act). Due to time constraints, only a fraction of those who submitted testimony were able to testify during the three-hour meeting.

Rep. Gary Crick (R-Vickery) reintroduced House Bill 68 in February after an earlier bill banning doctors from performing gender reassignment surgeries on minors failed to pass last year. .

The bill would prohibit doctors from providing transgender youth with gender-affirming treatments, such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy. The bill would ban doctors from performing gender reassignment surgery on minors, but many opponents argue that no children’s hospital in Ohio currently performs gender reassignment surgery on patients under the age of 18. It pointed out.

Anita Somani MP (D, Dublin), who is also a doctor, told the committee meeting, “What you want is legislation that is not done in Ohio.” “So why make laws when doctors are trained to determine what is good medical care and what is good surgical treatment? will you make

Crick denies any religious motives for his bill, but four years ago he gave a sermon at the Fremont Baptist Church, where a gay and transgender minister is pastor, referring to conversion therapy. and suggests that people who are homosexual or transgender are being pushed by Satan.

State Rep. Gary Crick, Republican Mr. Vickery. (Photo by Graham Stokes of him in his journal, Ohio His Capital. Reposting the photo with original article only.)

Fixed a misunderstanding

Patti Manning Courtney, director and developmental pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said gender-affirming care requires parental consent and can only be obtained for children under the age of 18 after a mental health assessment. explained and corrected some misunderstandings in the testimony. She said the drugs that suspend puberty are reversible, and that stopping those inhibitors resumes puberty.

She said the bill targets “small, vulnerable and poorly understood groups of children”.

“Parents struggling with the most personal, complex and sensitive decisions about their children need not deal with legal intervention,” Manning Courtney said.

Gender-positive care is supported by all major medical institutions in the United States.

parents testify

Ann Becker shared with the committee a text message her transgender son sent her in March saying, “Mommy, I’m scared of transgender genocide.” Are they going to put me in a camp? ”

Becker’s son just finished his sophomore year at Case Western University and started taking testosterone when he was 17. She said the proposed bill would not affect her family because her son is older, but she is critical of the way the bill “deprives her parents of their rights”. . stripped of rights and handed over to the state. ”

“This shouldn’t be the way Ohio is going,” Becker said. “The way of terror, the way of denying freedom. Ohio is better than this.”

Rick Colby, a self-identified Republican, testified against the bill while his transgender son, Ashton, was on the committee.

“A complete ban on all medical interventions for individuals under the age of 18 with gender dysphoria is a horrible idea,” Colby said. “Probably leading to suicide, depression and substance abuse.”

Giles Lobriar, parent of a 12-year-old transgender child, expressed concern about HB68.

“Suspending puberty is safe and reversible, and for a child like me with persistent and consistent gender dysphoria, it causes the irreversible change of puberty: to become positive about one’s gender. Instead of being in denial, it leads to better mental health,” he said.

Nearly one in five transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide in the past year, according to a 2023 survey of LGBTQ youth mental health by The Trevor Project.

referral problem

Manning Courtney, Public Health Commission Chair Rep. Scott Lipps (R-Franklin), Rep. Brian Stewart on the issue of whether physicians refer minors to gender reassignment surgeons There was an exchange between congressmen (Republicans). Asheville.

“Do doctors working at gender clinics refer patients to outside facilities where this type of surgery is performed?” Stewart asked.

Manning Courtney said no.

“The way we do it, we don’t directly refer patients under the age of 18 for surgery,” she says. “To the best of my knowledge, that has not happened. We will not induce you to undergo surgery.”

“You can’t do it here, but you can do it there? Has that happened in our clinic?” Manning-Courtney said. “It can happen over time. It’s not. ”

mental health

HB 68 prohibits mental health professionals from diagnosing or treating persons under the age of 18 for gender-related conditions without parental consent and without screening for abuse and trauma.

this is very concerning Manning Courtney.

“We fear what this will do to mental health providers, and we’re hearing from people who have already left the state because of the proposed mental health provisions in the bill.” she said.

‗Emergency room colleagues are concerned about this, in part, given the number of children presenting with gender-related mental health crises and the reporting obligations this imposes on them. increase.”

Follow OCJ reporters Megan Henry’s Twitter.

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