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ACLU of Oklahoma blasts anti-trans hospital funding bill

by Deon Osborne, Associate Editor
ACLU of Oklahoma blasts anti-trans hospital funding bill
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OKLAHOMA CITY — The ACLU of Oklahoma is blasting Republican Governor Kevin Stitt after he signed legislation banning OU Health Facilities from receiving American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding if they perform gender-affirming medical care.

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, OU will receive over $100M to update healthcare facilities for both youth and adults. However, that money comes with strings attached – strings that further marginalize transgender youth. 

HB 1007 was authored by Oklahoma House Reps Kevin Wallace and Ryan Martinez, as well as state Senators Roger Thompson and Chuck Hall. All of the bill’s authors are members of the Oklahoma GOP. 

“Today, Oklahoma politicians took the next step in joining their colleagues in Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas, by attacking lifesaving, best-practice medical care for Oklahoma’s transgender youth,” said Tamya Cox-Toure, ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director.

“ Medical decisions belong to patients, their parents, and their doctors. Yet politicians, attempting to appeal to their base during an election year, have continued their attacks on bodily autonomy by coming between those directly impacted and the care they need and deserve,” Cox-Toure added.

Earlier this year, Governor Stitt made national headlines when he signed a bill banning nonbinary birth certificates, cementing his belief than trans and nonbinary people don’t exist.

ACLU of Oklahoma calls out bill banning gender-affirming care for trans youth

HB 1007 includes a provision that “no monies shall be budgeted or expended… for the benefit of any facility performing ‘gender reassignment medical treatment’ to children under 18. The bill defines “gender reassignment medical treatment” as facilitating “the transitioning of a patient’s assigned gender identity on the patient’s birth certificate to the gender identity experienced and defined by the patient.”

The bill stands in stark contrast to the position taken by the American Medical Association regarding medical care for transgender youth. According to the AMA, “We believe it is inappropriate and harmful for any state to legislatively dictate that certain transition-related services are never appropriate and limit the range of options physicians and families may consider when making decisions for pediatric patients.” 

“Medical experts agree: Gender-affirming care is medically necessary care. And today’s actions, along with the displays on the House and Senate floors, show a fundamental ignorance about medical treatment for transgender youth,” ACLU of Oklahoma’s Cox-Toure said. 

“Trans youth thrive when their families and communities care and support their gender identities, and access to best practice medical care is a necessary part of that support. The ACLU of Oklahoma is determined to keep fighting, similar to our own colleagues across the country, until this baseless law, and all future attacks, are struck down.”

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