A Bill in Ohio That Would Have Required Genital Exams for Student-Athletes Has Died in the Legislature

A Bill in Ohio That Would Have Required Genital Exams for Student-Athletes Has Died in the Legislature.

Ohio’s terrible transgender sports ban, which originally mandated forced genital examinations for youngsters, is virtually dead for the rest of the legislative term.

H.B. 151 declared that no school or athletic conference “shall authorize people of the male sex to engage on sports teams or in athletic events designated solely for female sex participants.”

The measure would have changed the current standards of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), which allow trans athletes to compete if they present yearly bloodwork proving decreased testosterone levels. Since the policy’s implementation in 2015, just 15 trans females have joined teams, according to the OHSAA. Out of over 400,000 other student-athletes, just three transgender girls have participated at the high school level.

If a competitor’s sex was called into question by an opposing team’s coach, player, or parent, the bill would have required the competitor to undergo a medical pelvic exam of their “internal and external reproductive anatomy” — something that can require a doctor to put their hand or an ultrasound wand into a girl’s vagina — as well as an analysis of their genetic makeup and testosterone levels, or all three, to confirm the girl’s sex assigned at birth.

Such checks are not normal practice for pediatric treatment, according to Melissa Wervey Arnold, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Ohio branch, and can be “psychologically detrimental or even traumatic” for young girls. Several doctors informed her that they would not undertake such testing.

Democratic state Rep. Beth Liston, an Ohio State University professor of pediatrics, said such screenings are “totally medically unwarranted” and would most likely not be paid by insurance. Pelvic examinations and testing may cost up to $1,000, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Conservatives such as Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R) and Center for Christian Virtue President Aaron Baer regarded the examination option “unnecessary and harmful,” according to the journal.

The requirement for genital inspections was eventually eliminated.

The plan went through many last-minute modifications before failing to obtain a second House vote on Thursday morning, officially terminating the state’s legislative session.

The pelvic exam requirement was deleted by the state senate, but a clause allowing contestants to provide a birth certificate to confirm the sex assigned at birth was added and later repealed. Another section that compelled public and private colleges and universities to respect the legislation was eliminated.

Despite these changes, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) continues to oppose the plan. “This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, such as the Ohio High School Athletic Association, which may modify laws to match the requirements of its member athletes and member institutions,” he explained.

The OHSAA was also opposed. “The OHSAA feels that our present transgender policy protects the integrity of girls’ sports while also offering possibilities for participation for the particularly vulnerable category of transgender children.”

While supporters claimed the bill was needed to prevent trans women from unfairly “stealing” on-field victories and scholarships from cisgender girls, opponents claimed it was simply intended to prevent trans teens from participating in sports, despite the fact that they already face higher rates of isolation, stigma, and mental distress. Opponents contended that alternative regulations, such as stronger protections for female student-athletes from harassment and sexual assault, would assist women’s sports more.

Republicans in the Ohio Senate tried to combine the measure with S.B. 178, which would have given the governor the authority to personally choose the director of the state department of education, a post that administers state school policy. The law would have barred public schools from mandating COVID-19 immunizations and instructors from measuring the ability of homeschooled children.

Supporters of the law said that it would speed educational reform while fostering greater accountability and openness. The Ohio Federation of Teachers, on the other hand, opposed the measure, alleging that it would politicize the job of state education director and policy.

“This is not how education should be done in the state of Ohio,” stated Rep. Phil Robinson (D). “Passing something at 1 or 2 a.m. that no one has read, no one has seen.”

 

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