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Parental notification, ‘Parents Bill of Rights’ could come after recess

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(The Center Square) – With time running out before the Ohio General Assembly’s summer recess, a proposed “Parents Bill of Rights” could be shelved into the fall.

Senate committees are expected to get legislation that passed the House on Wednesday that could get delayed as work on the state budget continues before a planned summer recess. House Bill 68 would ban gender-affirming surgery and other care and prohibit transgender athletes from playing female sports.

House Bill 8 would require teachers and school staff members to tell parents information students disclose about their gender identity.

Both bills passed on Republican-led partisan votes after a long list of opposition testimony in committee. Neither bill has been assigned to a Senate committee.

“Our opponents argue from a place of eminence rather than evidence,” said Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery. “In other words, it’s ‘because we said so,’ rather than because it is so. That may work when it comes from mom or dad, but that is not enough when it comes from the health care industry. Ohio’s families deserve better.”

HB68 would require parental consent to counseling and requires gender dysphoric patients to be screened for depression, ADHD, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, other mental health conditions, trauma and abuse.

Added to the bill was the ban on transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.

HB8, what sponsors call the Parents Bill of Rights, would require schools to inform parents of any mental, emotional, or physical health-related changes in their child and be prohibited from encouraging students to hide the changes from their parents.

Parents would also have oversight regarding classes that are sexually explicit in subject matter. Schools will be required to provide sexually explicit content to parents for review. Parents would have the right to opt out and remove their child from a class if they feel uncomfortable with the material.

“It is critical that parents have a seat at the table when it comes to their children,” said Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton. “I am honored to have had the opportunity to spearhead this legislation that will join families with schools because that’s the best for everyone in a child’s life.”

Democrats called both bills dangerous anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ pieces of legislation.

“House Bill 68 and House Bill 8 are the latest Republican overreaches that will endanger the life, health and well-being of Ohio’s students and families,” said Senate Democratic Leader Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood. “Gender-affirming health care is more than an ethical, moral or religious dilemma. It is a matter of life or death. Gender-affirming care saves lives, but Republicans would rather attack parents’ rights in helping their children get lifesaving medical care.”

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