Okla. governor signs ban on gender-affirming care for minors into law

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday sighed legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt/Release
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday sighed legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt/Release

May 2 (UPI) -- Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors, making it the latest Republican-led state to prohibit the administration of such medical care.

The governor signed Senate Bill 613 on Monday, which bans medical professionals from providing those under the age of 18 with gender-affirming care under threat of being charged with a felony.


The ban includes both surgical and medicinal therapies, including puberty-blocking drugs and hormones.

The law is effective immediately but there is a six-month grace period to allow minors currently prescribed such medication time to decrease and discontinue using it.

The governor signed the bill as Republican legislatures around the country seek to restrict or ban gender-affirming care, particularly for minors, despite major medical organizations -- including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics -- endorsing the medical therapy and opposing politicians interfering in the doctor-patient relationship.

According to the Movement Advancement Project, more than 15 states have banned gender-affirming care for minors.

"Last year, I called for a statewide ban on all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors so I am thrilled to sign this into law today and protect our kids," Stitt said in a statement Monday announcing he had signed SB 613. "We cannot turn a blind eye to what's happening across our nation, and as a governor, I am proud to stand up for what's right and ban life-altering transition surgeries on children in the state of Oklahoma."


Lambda Legal, The American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups have vowed to take legal action against the ban.

"Transgender youth in Oklahoma deserve the support and care necessary to give them the same chance to thrive as their peers," the legal organizations said in a joint statement. "Gender-affirming care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, live authentically as themselves and dream about their futures."

According to guidance on the medical procedure from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, early gender-affirming care is "crucial to overall health and well-being" of transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents with research showing that it produces positive outcomes.

Gender-affirming care is "patient-centered" and consists of non-medical and medical services, with some medical therapies, including puberty blockers, being reversible, and gender-affirming surgeries being "[t]ypically used in adulthood or case-by-case in adolescence," the guidance states.

Estimates from the Williams Institute of UCLA states that there are roughly 2,600 transgender youth between the ages of 13 and 17 in Oklahoma.

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