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New Ohio bill would punish doctors who help transgender children transition

Co-sponsor of the bill says, "well-meaning parents are being coerced."
The Ohio Statehouse (WBNS-10TV)

CLEVELAND (WKYC/WBNS) — Two Ohio lawmakers from southern Ohio announced Tuesday that they will introduce a bill that would restrict medical treatments for transgender children under the age of 18, by charging doctors who perform gender altering procedures with a third-degree felony. A conviction for a third-degree felony is punishable by up to 3 years in prison.

State Representatives Ron Hood, of Ashville, and Bill Dean, of Xenia, both Republicans, are planning to introduce the "Protect Vulnerable Children Act" later this week.

"What we are concerned about here is Ohio's most vulnerable children are being subjected to experimental, unproven, and expensive treatments and surgeries," said Hood in a news conference in Columbus. Referring to high suicide rates among transgender teens, which has been estimated at 40%, Hood said, "The best suicide prevention is to care and guide. Not to sterilize. Obviously these procedures bring about sterilization which is a very, very permanent decision that is being made at such a young age."

A mother who identified herself as Maria also spoke at the news conference, and criticized what she called, "an affirmation-only society."

"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," she said.

Equality Ohio issued a statement on the possible legislation saying in part, "the bill ignores the fundamental reality of medical care for transgender youth." You can read their full statement here.

Human Rights Campaign Columbus also posted a statement on their Facebook page, which you can read below.