OKLAHOMA CITY – The full Senate has approved a measure prohibiting gender transition procedures for children under the age of 18. Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, is the author of Senate Bill 613, which bans the use of any medications or surgical procedures for the purpose of gender transition. Behavioral and mental health counseling and medications for depression and anxiety are not included.
“These transition treatments are permanent, irreversible, and 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.”
SB 613 provides for treatment of precocious puberty, delayed puberty and conditions such as ambiguous or incomplete genitalia, both male and female genitalia, and sex development disorders.
Penalties for violation may include felony charges, license revocation and civil actions which can be filed by a parent or guardian or by the child when they reach age 18.
House Bill 2177, authored by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore and Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Sallisaw threatens to ban all gender-affirming care including hormonal therapy. The bill was recently heard in the House Public Health Committee.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater said this bill is not about protecting minors, but about attacking Oklahoma families.
“This is big government. This is an attack on freedom. The state legislature has no business telling a loving parent what is best for their child,” Ranson said. “The authors of the HB 2177 have expanded the bill to force insurance companies to deny gender-affirming healthcare for all Oklahomans, regardless of age.”
Ranson said one of her primary concerns about this bill is government over-reach into the private business of families. Ranson fears that denying the access of life-saving medical care to the transgender community may lead to limiting freedoms of other communities that may disagree with state legislators.
“Access to healthcare is a basic right. Healthcare decisions should be between physicians, patients, and their families. The right to privacy in personal healthcare decisions of all Oklahomans is in jeopardy,” Ranson added.
Ranson was the only legislator to vote against the bill. The bill passed out of the Public Health Committee and is headed to a vote on the house floor.