Ohio Is About To Become the Second State To Limit Adult Gender Affirming Care

(NationalUSNews.com) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced proposals for stricter policies for healthcare providers in the treatment of people who identify as transgender and are seeking medical transition. While not everyone who identifies as transgender seeks to alter their bodies with either surgery or hormone treatments, the laws that govern what medical professionals are allowed to offer and to whom vary from state to state and worldwide. DeWine has said these measures would help ensure safer treatment and make “fly-by-night” clinics impossible.

While activists say there are no such clinics operating in Ohio, some transgender-identified people are angry that the new rules would make it difficult for them to continue using smaller clinics, general practitioners, and telehealth services. The appeal of such services is that they often have much less oversight and accountability than large medical centers, which some say can lead to over-prescribing controlled medicines and giving patients the diagnosis they want rather than what they need.

Patients under 21 would be required to have at least six months of mental health counseling before beginning medical transition, which was a very common requirement in many countries for years. The policies would also forbid medical practitioners from referring underage patients to out-of-state clinics that would not be restricted by the proposed legislation. While activists believe this is pointless red tape designed to deny any medical care to transgender-identified people, DeWine spokesperson Dan Tierney says the new policies are not designed to interrupt the care of patients already undergoing medical transition.

Dr. Carl Streed Jr., president of the U.S. Professional Association for Transgender Health, characterizes the proposed changes as draconian and says they do not follow any standards of care. However, there is no worldwide consensus on the medical transition of transgender people. In fact, in some places, like Finland, previously fast and easy access to hormonal and surgical gender transition has been reversed as new studies have shown low certainty that such treatments improve the mental health of patients. Furthermore, there are ongoing lawsuits against medical organizations like Kaiser Permanente by people who no longer identify as transgender and feel they were rushed into treatment by medical practitioners who did not take the time to be sure the diagnosis was correct.

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