OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit gender-affirming care to minors who are transgender.
Senate Bill 613, by Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, passed 40-8 with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposing it.
Violations would be a felony subject to license revocation and a civil suit brought by a parent, guardian or next of friend to the child. Next of friend is not defined in the act.
A child could file suit until the age of 45, Daniels said.
Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, asked why the Legislature wanted to take away a parent’s right to make medical decisions about their child.
Daniels said the law would hit the pause button until transgender children reach a level of maturity.
People are also reading…
“My main concern with this bill is very, very simple,” Floyd said. “This is an attack on parents’ rights. This is taking away from parents their right to make medical decisions for their child. You may not agree with that medical decision, and that is fine.”
She said letting the Legislature pick and choose what medical procedures are allowed is a “very slippery” slope.
Sen. Jo Anna Dossett, D-Tulsa, said lawmakers heard that parents are “helpless pushovers” and need government to “hold their hand” until a child turns 18.
Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee, said kids are being told lies that they can transition from one gender to another.
“There is no spectrum of choice,” he said. “You are a boy. You are a girl.”
He said people are cashing in on transgender care and said it involves horrific surgeries with cascading consequences.
Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, assured senators that they were doing the right thing by passing the measure.
“You cannot cure confusion with a knife,” Bullard said.
Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, said he disagreed vehemently with those who accuse supporters of the bill of not caring or having compassion.
“We do care, and that is why we are supporting this bill,” Bergstrom said.
The measure now moves to the House for consideration.
Gov. Kevin Stitt has expressed support for the concept.
Tamya Cox-Toure, ACLU of Oklahoma executive director, said there is no evidence that people are being pushed into care.
“Gender-affirming care is life-saving care, and the ACLU of Oklahoma and our partners are determined to fight these baseless laws at the Capitol or in the courts,” she said.
“Going against the guidance of every major medical and mental health association, this bill brings the state one step closer toward stripping transgender and nonbinary young people of their right to receive best-practice medical care,” said Troy Stevenson, director of state advocacy campaigns at The Trevor Project.
At the same time, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs praised the measure’s passage.
“The idea that we would ban a child from smoking cigarettes but allow them to receive life-altering surgeries or cross-sex hormones has never made sense, and members of the Senate deserve credit for advancing this common-sense protection for minors,” said Jonathan Small, OCPA president.
Also Wednesday, the House’s version of the legislation — House Bill 2177 by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore — advanced from the House Public Health Committee over the strenuous objections of the panel’s lone Democrat, Trish Ranson of Stillwater.
Similar to the Senate measure, HB 2177 would ban gender-reassignment treatments for minors and would forbid health insurance plans from covering such procedures. It also would bar state-supported medical facilities from such procedures on all patients, regardless of age.
Lifting language from child sexual abuse statutes, the bill would allow individuals who do undergo gender reassignment procedures to sue those involved until the patient reaches age 45.
Randy Krehbiel contributed to this story.
Tulsa-area state legislators and how to contact them
Sen. Nathan Dahm
Sen. Dana Prieto
Sen. Jo Anna Dossett
Sen. John Haste
Sen. Todd Gollihare
Sen. Kevin Matthews
Sen. Joe Newhouse
Sen. Dave Rader
Sen. Cody Rogers
Rep. Meloyde Blancett
Rep. Jeff Boatman
Rep. Amanda Swope
Rep. Suzanne Schreiber
Rep. Dean Davis
Rep. Mark Tedford
Rep. Scott Fetgatter
Rep. Ross Ford
Rep. Regina Goodwin
Rep. Kyle Hilbert
Rep. Mark Lawson
Rep. T.J. Marti
Rep. Stan May
Rep. Monroe Nichols
Rep. Clay Staires
Rep. Terry O’Donnell
Rep. Melissa Provenzano
Rep. Lonnie Sims
Rep. John Kane
Rep. Mark Vancuren
Rep. John Waldron
Check out our latest digital-only offer and subscribe now