By Marilou Johanek, Ohio Capital Journal, Used with Permission
Busted. Ohio Republicans love to grandstand on parents’ rights and protection of children when they’re pushing culture war crazy like banning books, whitewashing history, or canceling nonexistent gender indoctrination in grade schools. They’re fighting for your parental rights to be in charge of your child and to protect that darling from all the fearful imaginings invented on Fox “News.”
All for show. A charade to justify mindless legislation on made-up crises. But the gig is up. State lawmakers masquerading as champions of parents and protectors of children just voted against parents deciding what’s best for their children and against protecting Ohio children from harm. Busted.
The supermajorities of gerrymandered Republicans in the Ohio Senate and Ohio House voted to replace parental authority with political control. The radical fundamentalists running state government with an iron fist know better than you parents when it comes to your child. Simple peasants with kiddos can’t be trusted to do the right thing. They need to be told by unaccountable authoritarians in the Statehouse.
“We tell parents what to do all the time. So this isn’t any different. Sometimes the General Assembly has to step in and tell them what to do,” said Republican state Sen. Stephen Huffman.
“The same government that requires you to send your children to school…has the obligation to prevent parents and physicians from chemically castrating and sterilizing their children,” said Republican state Rep. Gary Click, sponsor of the extreme anti-trans bill becoming law in less than 90 days.
“The governor has said we should let parents make these decisions. Well, that’s nice as a headline,” but “there are parents making bad decisions, as parents always do,” said Republican state Senate President Matt Huffman.
What the impossibly arrogant and outrageous Republican overlords in the Ohio legislature are saying is that parents aren’t up to the job of raising their children without right-wingers calling the shots. Clearly the extremists believe parents with transgender minors are inadequate to the task of providing health care for them not proscribed by politicians (without medical or psychological training).
When MAGA Republicans overrode Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of an anti-trans bill that bans gender-affirming care for minors and restricts transgender participation in sports, they mocked parents of this state under the pretext of protecting their kids. They trotted out the same fearmongering delusions and alternative realities parroted in scores of other Republican-dominated legislatures to beat up a strawman unable to hit back.
They legislated away the rights of Ohio’s transgender youth and their parents not for any credible, medically-valid, evidence-based rationale, but because exploiting transgenderism is politically expedient in MAGA world. State Republicans enacted a gender-affirming healthcare ban — despite overwhelming opposition from physicians, children’s hospitals, counselors, parents, patients, and every major medical association in the country — because polls backed indefensible cruelty. Republicans stopped Ohio parents, relying on the best medical advice and long-established clinical practices, from giving their trans children gender-affirming treatment that could well save their lives.
The governor relayed parental concerns when he vetoed the bill Republicans restored. “They told me their child is alive only because they received care,” he said. “Ultimately, I believe this is about protecting human life.” Ultimately, Republican lawmakers believed targeting the transgender community with discriminatory legislation was worth sacrificing human life to score ideological points.
They broadly dismissed trans youth as “kids doing something stupid” and portrayed their parents as pushovers who succumb to “the culture that has been created behind this movement.” (?) Ohio Senate President Huffman — presumably a scholar on gender dysphoria, its diagnosis and treatment — also argued baselessly that “parents are being pressured” to accept their transgender children who are being “encouraged by a lot of people” to be trans so “of course, they’re gonna latch onto it.”
With that tortured logic, Republican leadership gaveled a sweeping anti-trans bill into law and ignored DeWine’s warning that the consequences on “a very small number of children … would be profound.” Collateral damage. The price of maintaining a MAGA Republican grip on power through hate-baiting.
After putting vulnerable transgender youth in unnecessary danger by denying their parents the right to save them with health care, Republican state senators joined their counterparts in the House in refusing to protect Ohio’s kids and communities from tobacco addiction. It’s the leading cause of preventable death in Ohio, according to the state’s health director.
However, the GOP supermajorities sided with Big Tobacco over local efforts to reduce the high rates of tobacco use among young Ohioans. So flavored tobacco products, hugely popular with high schoolers and young adults, will soon be back on store shelves after Republicans overrode the governor’s veto of a bill that prevented Ohio cities from banning their sale.
Lawmakers voted not in the public interest or as proponents of kids, many of whom start vaping with widely available flavored products that target children with fruit or candy flavors. They legislated away the home rule rights of people trying to improve public health and prevent kids from becoming nicotine addicts at 14, 15, or 16 years old. Protecting the tobacco industry and businesses was more important.
Ohio MAGA Republicans can wail all they want about the protection of children or the rights of parents but truly the gig is up. The gerrymandered frauds have been exposed again. Busted.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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