Ohio is backtracking on proposed restrictions to curb transgender medicalization for adults.
The state health department said Wednesday that it has changed its new proposed administrative rules on transgender medical treatments to apply only to children. The department said it received public comments opposing restrictions on adults for such treatments.
“The comments revealed a significant interest in the original draft’s impact on adult patients. The revised quality standard rules are now applicable only to care for minors,” the health department said in a memo noting the changes.
Earlier this month, Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced the new rules restricting transgender medical treatments for both adults and children.
One of the rules would have required trans-identifying adults to have a team of an endocrinologist, a bioethicist, and a psychiatrist evaluating them rather than just one clinician.
Another rule would have required adults under 21 to have at least six months of counseling before starting cross-sex hormones or getting gender surgery.
“Candidly, as I expressed a week ago, I am concerned that there could be fly-by-night providers and clinics that might be dispensing medication to adults with no counseling and no basic standards to assure quality care,” DeWine said when he announced the rules.
“The rules that we are announcing today will take care of that. We need to ensure that adults, as well as children, are protected,” the governor said.
A week earlier, DeWine had vetoed a bill that banned transgender hormone treatments and surgeries for children and prohibited trans-identifying students from competing on sports teams of the opposite sex.
Ohio’s GOP-majority legislature overrode DeWine’s veto several days later.
That law will take effect in April unless a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) halts its enforcement before then.
At least 21 states have enacted some kind of ban on transgender medical treatments for minors, although some have not taken effect yet, and Arkansas’ ban was struck down in court.
Florida is the only other state that has restricted transgender medicalization for adults.
Last summer, a new Florida law went into effect requiring a physician to oversee transgender treatments for adults. Adults must also see that doctor in person, not virtually on a telehealth appointment. The law also requires adults to sign an informed consent form for transgender treatments.
Cross-sex hormones, one of the most common transgender treatments, come with serious side effects.
They can cause infertility, deadly blood clots, heart attacks, increased cancer risks of the breasts and ovaries, liver dysfunction, worsening psychological illness, and other serious conditions. These hormone treatments can also lower a female’s voice permanently.