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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
29 Apr 2023

NextImg:Oklahoma Passes Bill Banning Sex Change Surgeries for Children

Oklahoma’s Republican-majority Legislature has passed a bill banning health care providers from performing transgender procedures or providing gender-altering medication to minors.

Senate Bill 613 was introduced by Republican state Sen. Julie Daniels and passed Thursday by a 38–8 vote.

The bill will now go to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it. The Republican governor called on lawmakers during his State of the State address in February to deliver a bill to his desk that bans all gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies for minors.

“We must protect our most vulnerable—our children,” Stitt told the address. “We shouldn’t allow a minor to get a permanent gender-altering surgery in Oklahoma. That’s why I am calling on the Legislature to send me a bill that bans all gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors in the state!” he added, receiving a standing ovation.

Under the bill (pdf), health care providers would be banned from performing any surgical procedure that alters or removes physical or anatomical characteristics of children relating to their sex.

Doctors are also prohibited from prescribing gender-altering medication for people under 18, such as puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones.

Any health professional who violates the act faces hefty penalties, including potential felony charges carrying up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, as well as revocation of their medical license for “a period of not less than one year.”

The bill would not prohibit health care services or mental health counseling for gender dysphoria. It also would not ban medications for depression and anxiety or stop providing assistance if an individual is born with ambiguous genitalia, incomplete genitalia, or both male and female anatomy.

Daniels said in a statement that the measure is about delaying minors from making permanent and irreversible decisions that “can lead to a host of medical problems later in life.”

“Being transgender, gender non-conforming, or experiencing gender dysphoria is very real, but these are mental, not physical conditions. Children need behavioral and mental health treatment to give them the opportunity to resolve these issues,” Daniels said. “Once they reach 18, they may not wish to seek more drastic treatment, but at least they will have reached some level of maturity to make a more informed decision.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, denounced state lawmakers for passing the amended version of the bill Thursday, calling on Stitt to veto the legislation.

“SB 613 is a discriminatory, unnecessary, and cruelly targeted bill,” HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement. “They’re attacking transgender youth in Oklahoma and anyone that supports them. Time and time again, the data and evidence have shown gender-affirming care is best practice care that is always delivered in an age-appropriate manner in consultation with parents, doctors, and medical experts.”

The bill was also criticized by Democrats, with Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd saying the Legislature is inserting itself into a decision that should be left up to parents.

“Where do we stop?” Floyd asked, according to Tulsa World. “What other medical conditions are we going to interject [sic] the Legislature and lawmakers into?”

Sen. Carri Hicks, also a Democrat, said that “gender-affirming care is life-saving care”—referring to a term often used by President Joe Biden, who has openly denounced states’ efforts to outlaw life-changing sex procedures on children.

Hicks said parents would do anything to help their children, adding that she believes lawmakers should not take away that opportunity.

The development was announced a day before Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill into law Friday restricting transgender procedures for minors. Last month, states like Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi signed similar measures banning transgender medical procedures for children.

In a statement, Gianforte’s press secretary Kaitlin Price said that the governor is “committed to protecting Montana children from invasive medical treatments that can permanently alter their healthy, developing bodies.”

From NTD News

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