Oklahoma Wants to Make Gender-Affirming Care Illegal Until the Age of 21
An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed making delivering gender-affirming health care to anybody under the age of 21 a felony.
Republican Rep. Jim Olsen’s House Bill 1101, according to the Tulsa World, “would bar health care practitioners from offering, seeking to supply, or making recommendations for puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender-reassignment surgery.” Violations would result in a felony charge, punishable by up to ten years in jail and/or a $100,000 fine.
Gender transition operations for those under the age of 21 could not be covered by public monies, including those provided by the state Medicaid program.
“Anyone in health care who provides or recommends life-altering operations that may later be regretted is irresponsible,” Olsen told the World. “We know that some people go through the gender transition procedure and afterwards identify as their biological sex. Performing irreversible treatments on children might cause permanent mental and physical damage later in adulthood.”
According to research, transition remorse is infrequent. Puberty suppressants and hormones are highly reversible, and gender-confirmation surgery is nearly never performed on anybody under the age of 18.
Typically, legislation forbidding these treatments for minors has a minimum age of 18 or 19. Both Alabama and Arkansas have enacted legislation to that effect, with Alabama imposing criminal penalties and Arkansas instituting professional sanctions. Both are temporarily blocked from enforcement while litigation are underway against them.
Oklahoma has previously approved legislation barring the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and its Children’s Hospital from using federal monies given by the American Rescue Plan Act unless they stop providing gender-affirming care, which they did.
Bills to outlaw gender-affirming care for kids have previously been presented but not approved in Oklahoma. The state has enacted laws preventing transgender females from participating in girls’ school athletics and mandating all students in public schools to use the toilets allocated for their biological gender.
Democratic legislators and LGBTQ+ advocates have come out against Olsen’s measure. Democratic House Minority Leader Cindi Munson told the World that giving care is “irresponsible and unsafe.” “Studies have shown that limiting gender-affirming health treatment leads to greater rates of suicide among teenagers and young people,” she noted.
“Proposals like HB 1011, which prohibits health care providers from providing transition care to people under the age of 21, are not based on known health understandings,” Oklahomans for Equality Interim Executive Director Dorothy Ballard told the outlet. “As a result, we believe that such laws are not only biased, but also do a severe disservice to Oklahoma youngsters, caregivers, and medical professionals.”