News (USA)

Oklahoma makes it a felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming care to trans youth

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Photo: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Oklahoma has officially banned gender-affirming care for trans youth. On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed S.B. 613, which bans all forms of this lifesaving health care – including reversible puberty blockers – for anyone under the age of 18.

It also makes it a felony for doctors to provide this care to trans youth and allows prosecution of health care professionals until their patients turn 45.

“Last year, I called for a statewide ban on all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors so I am thrilled to sign this into law today and protect our kids,” Stitt said in a statement. “We cannot turn a blind eye to what’s happening across our nation, and as governor I am proud to stand up for what’s right and ban life-altering transition surgeries on children in the state of Oklahoma.”

Stitt is incorrect in saying that the gender-affirming care provided to trans youth is irreversible. Minors almost never receive gender-affirming surgery and instead are treated with reversible puberty blockers. Additionally, major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics support age-appropriate gender-affirming care.

The governor has been calling for a ban like this since last year, and he reiterated that call in his 2023 State of the State address.

In October, he signed a bill banning the Children’s Hospital at Oklahoma University Hospital from using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for gender-affirming care for minors. At the time, he tweeted that “this is just the first step.”

Oklahoma is at least the 16th state to have instituted a gender-affirming care ban.

A joint statement from Lambda Legal and the ACLU condemned the bill, stating that “Gender-affirming care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, live authentically as themselves, and dream about their futures.”

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