Backers of Ohio SAFE Act and Save Women’s Sports Act testify in Senate

Credit: NYT

Credit: NYT

The Senate Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday heard in-person proponent testimony on House Bill 68, a contentious bill that passed the House earlier this year that would ban gender-affirming care for minors and block transgender students from participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity.

Proponents of the SAFE Act, short for Save Adolescents from Experimentation, included medical professionals, concerned Ohioans and several “detransitioners” — individuals who began receiving gender-affirming care who came to regret it and now suffer medically — who encouraged the committee to do what it could to stop Ohio minors from sharing that experience.

Collectively, their testimony focused largely on the inability of Ohio minors to knowingly consent to gender-affirming care, given that “the medical literature with respect to gender-affirming care is incomplete at best and biased and poor quality at worst,” according to Dr. David Bonnet, former system chief medical officer at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Morgan Keller, the first detransitioner from Ohio to testify on the bill, asked the committee, “If I couldn’t give informed consent at 21, why are we pretending that children can do so? With this bill, we can ensure that children in Ohio are protected from ever waking up and finding themselves in my position.”

Opponent testimony has not yet been heard in the Senate, but it was overwhelming in the House Committee earlier this year, including staunch opposition from the state’s children’s hospitals, transgender advocacy organizations and civil liberties groups.

On Tuesday, Jocelyn Rhynard, a member of the Dayton Board of Education and Democratic candidate to represent Dayton in the Senate, called the SAFE Act “out of touch” and dissonant with the bulk of medical professionals in Ohio.

In an interview, Rhynard, who is the mother of a transgender child, expressed her belief that gender-affirming care can be life saving, and admonished the bill for blocking “trans youth from being able to access medically necessary healthcare that they might seek out in the future.”

Note: This story was corrected to reflect Dr. David Bonnet’s affiliation with University Hospitals of Cleveland. He is the former, not current, system chief medical officer of the organization.

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