Ohio backs off proposed restrictions on gender-affirming care for adults

20231227 mike dwine sj 1049 537d52

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration on Wednesday backed off its plans to impose rules that advocates feared would have restricted gender-affirming medical treatment for adults in a way no other state has.

The rules proposed by two state departments would have required the psychiatrists, endocrinologists and medial ethicists to have roles in creating gender-affirming care plans for clinics and hospitals. And patients under 21 would have been required to receive at least six months of counseling before starting hormone treatment or receiving gender-affirming surgery.

The Department of Health and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services both issued revised proposals Wednesday after gathering public comment. Both said in memos that they were swayed by what they had learned as transgender people and care providers weighed in. The Health Department said it received 3,900 comments. In the new versions, the rules would apply only to the care of minors, not adults.

Over the last few years, 21 states have adopted laws banning at least some aspects of gender-affirming care for minors. Some are so new they haven’t taken effect yet, and a ban in Arkansas was struck down in court. But so far, only Florida has restricted care for adults.