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Ohio conservatives announce bill banning medical treatment for transgender kids

On Tuesday Republican state representatives Ron Hood and Bill Dean announced plans to introduce a new bill called the Protect Vulnerable Children Act, which would prevent doctors from administering medical treatments to transgender minors under 18 years of age.

The bill if introduced will make it a felony for doctors to prescribe drugs to delay puberty or perform surgery to change a child’s gender. At the Tuesday’s press conference, a mother identified only as Maria said, “Families are being coerced and these kids are being gas-lighted by the medical community into believing this fantasy. They are being told that they can actually be the opposite sex.”

Maria says doctors told her that her child was transgender. She says she believes medical professionals are experimenting with drugs and surgery on children like hers and forcing their parents into silence.

“They are afraid they will lose their jobs,” she says. “They are afraid of trans activists that will find them and threaten them into silence. And we are afraid for our lives. But we are terrified that if this treatment continues as it is, we will be part of a medical catastrophe that this world has never seen.”

The bill is also supported by Conservative group Citizens for Community Values and the announcement event was organised by them. Ohio will soon join a handful of states such as Kentucky, Florida and Colorado that are planning to pursue similar bills to banning transgender treatments in minors.

While many families who spoke in the event where in support of the bill, none of their children were present there. Organisations such as Transohio and Equality Ohio has come forward opposing the bill. Dr. Scott Leibowitz with Nationwide Children’s Hospital says in a written statement that evidence published by mainstream medical associations shows kids are receiving care that promotes healthy outcomes.

“These types of legislative efforts pit the Hippocratic oath against the law, something that no medical or other healthcare professional should have to choose between. Evidence-based policy statements and clinical guidelines—published by every mainstream pediatric medical professional association—speak for themselves and are paving the path for minors to receive care that promotes the healthy outcomes the youth deserve,” Leibowitz wrote.

Equality Ohio executive director Alana Jochum wrote that the bill would ensure “burden and harassment” for young LGBTQ people. “Kids have it hard enough without Ohio House Representatives Hood and Dean invading their pediatrician’s appointment,” Jochum wrote. “Here’s what I know about youth: They have the best environment to thrive when they are supported and can get the health care they need.”

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