In a massive blow to LGBTQ+ rights, a prominent Oklahoma-based hospital has ended its gender-affirming care for trans youth due to an archaic new law.
On 4 October, the state’s conservative governor Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 3 into law.
Under the new legislation, the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and its children’s hospital will be eligible to receive over $108 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
However, due to Stitt’s anti-trans political stance, the prestigious hospital will only be able to collect the funds if they ban gender-affirming care for trans youth under the age of 18.
According to NBC News, OU Health’s children’s hospital offers puberty blockers and hormone therapy for patients up to age 24.
“By signing this bill today, we are taking the first step to protect children from permanent gender transition surgeries and therapies,” Stitt said in a statement.
The conservative governor, who’s up for reelection in November, also encouraged the state’s lawmakers to ban “irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors” statewide.
Despite Stitt’s outlandish claims, gender-affirming surgeries are typically not conducted on minors. Research has also revealed that hormone therapy and puberty blockers can improve the over mental health and life span of trans youth.
Following the governor’s approval of Senate Bill 3, OU Health released a statement agreeing with the legislation’s outlandish anti-trans terms.
“As Oklahoma’s flagship academic health system, OU Health seeks to reduce the burden of disease and improve the health of all Oklahomans. We are proud of the integrity, professionalism, care and passion our physicians and staff provide to all of our patients,” they said.
“In light of the legislation signed by Governor Stitt, we have ceased hormone-related prescription therapies and surgical procedures for gender-affirming services on patients under the age of 18.”
This isn’t the first time that Stitt and Oklahoma lawmakers have targeted trans youth with their legislation.
Back in May, the Republican governor signed the horrific SB 615 into law – which requires schools to force students to use restrooms that reflect the gender on their original birth certificates.
The law has since been enforced in both public schools and charter schools with students between preschool and 12th grade.
If a school chooses not to follow the bill’s provisions, it will be subjected to a reduction in state funding and could face potential legal action from parents.