Freedom Oklahoma and ACLU of Oklahoma Demand the Legislature, Governor stop using the lives of trans kids for political fodder
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate took the politicization of trans lives and trans bodies to a new low, ramming through House amendments to SB 613 on Thursday afternoon. Rather than engaging in thoughtful policymaking to consider and discuss amendments, they advanced SB 613 amended by the House with an emergency at the last minute, calling the Governor's bluff on promised vetoes. If signed by the governor, or if vetoed and overridden by the legislature, the bill would immediately impact the access to healthcare for trans Oklahomans immediately, without regard for the potential side effects, physical, mental, and emotional, for those youth immediately losing access to life-saving care. On the passage of SB 613 from the Senate, Freedom Oklahoma and the ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statements:
“All session long, trans Oklahomans, our families, and our doctors have been forced to become legislative experts, advocates, organizers, relocators, mutual aid hubs, and still, with every ounce of vigilance, our most vulnerable residents now face an immediate loss of live-saving care after a session of lip service where policymakers suggested at minimum they understood the dangers of attaching an emergency to the bill,” said Nicole McAfee, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma. “I don’t have articulate words in the face of this cruel and intentional harm that we will measure in the death of trans kids. To all of the transgender, Two Spirit, gender nonconforming Oklahomans, families, and gender affirming care providers: this is unacceptable, undemocratic, and frankly a harm no one should ever be subjected to, especially not from their government. We see you. We love you. We’re going to figure out how we can continue to care, together. 2STGNC+ people have always been and will always be in Oklahoma. And we’ll fight every day to ensure we have the safety to thrive.
"Our government should not interfere with the care we receive, the curriculum our schools teach, or what information we can safely share with a trusted doctor or teacher. But almost every day this session, politicians have pushed laws that infringe on our freedoms,” said Tamya Cox-Touré, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. "Every person and every circumstance is different, and we all deserve the freedom to control our bodies and seek the healthcare we need. Lawmakers have no right to tell families that they cannot access safe and essential healthcare for their children. The fight for our freedoms and our privacy only become more urgent as SB 613 makes it’s way to the Governor’s desk.”
The House amended version of SB 613 passed as a last minute addition on the Senate agenda 4/27 by a vote of 37-8. It next goes to the Governor’s desk, and threatens immediate loss of life-saving care for trans Oklahomans under 18.