Freedom Oklahoma, ACLU of Oklahoma, and Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes Call On Legislature To End Attack on Best Practice Medical Care for Transgender Oklahomans
OKLAHOMA CITY - Today, Freedom Oklahoma, ACLU of Oklahoma, and Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes call upon the Oklahoma Legislature to stop the advancement of SB 613, a direct attack on transgender youth in Oklahoma. SB 613 would ban best practice medical care for transgender Oklahomans under 18 while threatening medical providers with criminalization, civil action, and license penalties, effectively ending live-saving, gender-affirming care for transgender youth across Oklahoma, part of the wave of anti-trans legislation being introduced in state legislatures across the country.
Oklahoma lawmakers have proposed at least 15 bills seeking to bar transgender people–especially those under the age of 18–from accessing gender-affirming care, despite warnings from doctors and therapists, transgender youth, their families, and 2SLGBTQ+ community leaders. Comparable laws in Alabama and Arkansas are currently enjoined by federal court orders, and Oklahoma can expect similar lawsuits, should SB 613 pass.
“Transgender youth - like all Oklahomans - deserve access to best practice healthcare,” said Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma. “Ensuring trans Oklahoma youth can access the care they need is a critical part of helping them succeed in school, creating positive relationships in their communities, and developing into healthy adults. The Oklahoma Legislature should focus on the concerns of everyday Oklahomans–things like building our economy, expanding access to medical care, and addressing an increasingly dire affordable housing crisis–rather than legislatively bully trans kids and interfere with doctor/patient relationships. This decision should rest with parents, doctors, and patients—not politicians.”
“Gender-affirming care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, and live authentically as themselves,” said Tamya Cox-Touré, Executive Director for the ACLU of Oklahoma. “Restricting access to this care strips parents of their fundamental right to guide the health care of their children. There is no evidence that people are being pushed into care or receiving treatment without proper evaluation and informed consent. Psychologists, psychiatrists, family physicians, and specialists work together with individuals and their families to determine the treatment best for that young person. 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.”
“This is an egregious attack on transgender youth and their ability to access life-saving health care,” said Emily Wales, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes. “Oklahoma lawmakers will stop at nothing to deny people fact-based, expert medical care – which they know nothing about – to score cheap political points. We stand with the LGBTQIA+ community across Oklahoma and will fight these transphobic attacks, because trans youth and their families – not politicians – deserve to make their own health care decisions.”
SB 613 advanced from the Oklahoma Senate today by a vote of 40-8. It will next move to a committee in the Oklahoma House of Representatives before it can be heard on the Oklahoma House Floor. The Oklahoma House Public Health Committee is scheduled to hear another ban on best practice medical care for transgender Oklahomans, HB 2177, at 3 PM today.