By Sara Smart and Kaanita Iyer, CNN
(CNN) — Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced an executive order on Friday that bans gender-transition surgeries for minors.
The ban, which takes effect immediately, comes one week after DeWine vetoed broader legislation that would have barred transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care. Similar to the executive order, the bill targeted surgical procedures for minors but also sought to prohibit other forms of care, such as hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy and some mental health services.
“A week has gone by, and I still feel just as firmly,” DeWine said at a news conference Friday. “I believe that parents, not the government, should be making these very crucial medical decisions for the children.”
While the governor acknowledged that there is “very little evidence” of such surgeries being performed on children, he said the executive order “kind of assures everybody that that cannot happen.”
Gender-affirming care has become a polarizing issue in many states and 2023 saw a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills, many of which targeted such care. Several Democratic-led states have moved to enact protective measures, while GOP-led state legislatures have passed bans and other restrictions.
Gender-affirming care spans a range of evidence-based treatments and approaches that benefit transgender and nonbinary people. The types of care vary by the age and goals of the recipient, and are considered the standard of care by many mainstream medical associations.
DeWine also announced Friday that the Ohio Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will have a new set of rules for minors and adults seeking transition-related care, after a public comment period.
When announcing his veto of HB 68 last week, DeWine said at a news conference that trans adults and parents of trans youth have told him how lifesaving gender-affirming care could be, adding that the bill could have significant consequences.
While he opposed the breadth of the bill, the Republican had noted that he shares some concerns raised in the legislation and previewed that he would use administrative rules to address them.
The bill was passed by state lawmakers before the holiday break and would’ve prohibited transgender athletes from taking part in girls’ and women’s sports.
LGBTQ+ advocates celebrated DeWine’s veto last week, with the Human Rights Campaign calling it “a huge win for trans youth and their families in Ohio.”
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CNN’s Jay Croft and Jeff Winter contributed to this report.