Oklahoma passes law to withhold COVID relief funds from hospitals providing gender-affirming care to minors
© WikiMedia (Phil Roeder)
Oklahoma passes law to withhold COVID relief funds from hospitals providing gender-affirming care to minors

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt Tuesday signed SB3XX into law, which will withhold funds from healthcare facilities owned by the University Hospitals Authority (UHA) or University Hospitals Trust performing “gender reassignment medical treatment.” The law also appropriates funds provided to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to the UHA.

The law threatens to withhold funding for medical care that facilitates the transitioning of a patient’s assigned gender identity listed on their birth certificate. This includes interventions to suppress the development of endogenous secondary sex characteristics, interventions to align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity, and medical therapies and interventions used to treat gender dysphoria.

The withholding of funds does not apply to behavioral health services, medications to treat depression and anxiety, or services provided to those born with ambiguous genitalia, incomplete genitalia, both male and female anatomy, or biochemically verifiable disorder of sex development.

In addition to the withholding of funds, the bill appropriates $40 million to expand the capacity of behavioral health care for children, $20 million for cancer patients disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, $44 million for improving electronic health care records and over $5 million for mobile dental units.

In response to signing the bill into law, Governor Stitt stated:

By signing this bill today we are taking the first step to protect children from permanent gender transition surgeries and therapies. It is wildly inappropriate for taxpayer dollars to be used for condoning, promoting, or performing these types of controversial procedures on healthy children… I am calling for the Legislature to ban all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors when they convene next session in February 2023. We cannot turn a blind eye to what’s happening all across our nation, and as governor I will not allow life-altering transition surgeries on minor children in the state of Oklahoma.

Earlier this year, Stitt signed the United States’ strictest abortion ban into law.