Ohio Rep says Republicans are ‘killing children’ after vote to override veto on trans care ban

A transgender rights advocate holds a sign that reads '#TransKidsLives Matter' with pink and blue colours underneath as they outside the Ohio Statehouse during a rally against a trans sports ban bill

It has been an especially tough week for the trans community, after Ohio Republicans voted to override their own governor’s veto of a dangerous trans care ban.

On Friday (5 January), Ohio’s Governor Mike Dewine had vetoed the proposed House Bill 68 that would restrict access to gender-affirming care for minors and transgender girls’ participation in school sports – a notably rare move for a Republican figure.

In his veto, DeWine stated that the decision to allow a transgender minor to access gender-affirming medical care, which is endorsed by all mainstream medical associations, “should not be made by the government”, but by the child’s parents and doctors. 

Governor Mike Dewine had vetoed the dangerous trans care ban after researching the effects of gender-affirming care. (Scott Olson/Getty)

DeWine made the decision are visiting three children’s hospitals and speaking with families and medical professionals to learn more about the life-saving effects of gender-affirming care.

Despite this, the Republican-led House voted 65-28 this week to override DeWine’s veto and move the anti-trans bill to the Senate. If passed, this bill will make Ohio the 23rd state in the US to restrict gender-affirming care for minors, and the 25th state in the US to restrict transgender student’s participation in sports.

Many were horrified by Wednesday’s (10 January) House vote, including Democratic Rep Jessica E. Miranda, who took the time to make sure her fellow legislators realised the damage that they were about to doin a heart-wrenching speech.

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“I’d like to speak directly to Ohioans who I hope are tuning in and watching this hypocrisy play out right before us,” she told the House of Reps.

Ohio Rep Jessica E Miranda
Ohio Rep Jessica E Miranda told those who voted to veto the bill that they were “literally killing children.” (The Ohio Channel/X)

“Folks, please watch closely what is happening here today. Find out who truly cares about your privacy. The so-called party of personal and parental rights and privacy is voting to take away your parental rights. The party of so-called freedom is voting to take away your freedom today, against their own Republican governor.”

Miranda continued: “The proverbial boogey-man who doesn’t exist is killing our democracy. And with this vote to override the governor’s veto today, you are literally killing our children. Take that in for a moment. Literally killing our children, all to win your Republican primary races. Disgusting.

“And lastly… I hope all of the money that CCV – the so-called Centre for Christian Virtue – raises off of bullying our children keeps them up every single night of their low lives. Thank you.”

Wednesday’s vote has left transgender advocates and their families feeling deflated, though activist groups have sworn to keep fighting for the increasingly marginalised group until bills like this are overturned once and for all.

Transgender people have always existed and, according to the Human Rights Campaign, no state had introduced legislation to ban healthcare for trans Americans before the year 2020.

But, since then, bills to restrict and endanger transgender people – particularly children and adolescents – have been introduced at a rapid pace. 

According to the Trans Legislation Tracker, 2023 saw a total of 587 anti-trans bills introduced – 85 of which were passed, and 166 of which are still active.

Just two weeks into 2024, many more are being introduced by various state houses, despite an ever-growing pile of data, studies and endorsements that show the benefits of gender-affirming care, trans participation in sport, and trans access to facilities that align with their gender identity.

Ohio House of Representatives
Ohio House of Representatives voted 65-28 this week to override DeWine’s veto and move the anti-trans bill to the Senate. (Getty Images)

Commenting on Wednesday’s Ohio vote to veto Gov DeWine, President Kelley Robinson of the Human Rights Campaign said: “MAGA extremists in the legislature have caved to Trump’s bullying and decided that politicians, not parents, should decide what health care Ohio’s youth have access to. 

“The override is a clear attempt to earn the approval of Trump and rile up their base instead of doing what is best for Ohio families. But the battle isn’t over. We will continue to fight to see this horrible law overturned.”

Similarly, the American Civil LibertiesUnion and the ACLU of Ohio said in their own statement: ““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.”