Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Federal judge upholds Oklahoma's ban on gender transition procedures for minors

A federal judge for the District of Northern Oklahoma has upheld Senate Bill 613, a measure passed during the 2023 legislative session that bans "gender transition" procedures for children under 18 years of age. Pat McGuigan at the Oklahoma City Sentinel has more on the story here; below are comments from Gov. Kevin Stitt, State Sen. David Bullard, and State Rep. Kevin West.


OKLAHOMA CITY (October 6, 2023) - Governor Stitt issued the following statement today after a district judge upheld Oklahoma's ban (SB 613) on sex change surgeries for minors:

"I am pleased with the court's decision to uphold Oklahoma's common sense law protecting children from dangerous, permanent sex change surgeries. Here in Oklahoma, we protect our kids. Plain and simple."

The court's decision can be found here.

Sen. Bullard statement on federal ruling affirming SB 613

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 6th) – Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, released the following statement Friday following the federal ruling upholding the legality of Senate Bill 613 on gender-affirming care.

“I am pleased that the court sees the importance of protecting kids from the harms of genitalia mutilation and sterilization. It is important that we ensure protections for our kids against this dangerous ideology that seeks to convince them of a lie and then are willing to cause physical mutilation and harm while doing so. We will not turn a blind eye to this atrocity being fabricated on our kids. You cannot cure confusion with a knife but they sure can make a lot of money from it. When we get to the root of the problem, it is always about money and not about what is best for kids. Today, Oklahoma kids won.”

Read the opinion here.

Kevin West Comments on Court Upholding Gender Transition Ban

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 6th) – Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, a co-author of Senate Bill 613, released the following statement following a federal ruling upholding the legality of the legislation, which prohibits gender transition procedures for anyone under the age of 18.

"I'm glad the court ruled in favor of protecting our youth from the permanent harms that will be caused by these procedures. Youth is a time of rapid change in bodies and hormone levels and brain development. Multiple scientific studies have failed to show a benefit from these procedures and in fact show potential for great and lasting harm. Perceptions formed at a young age can change drastically by adulthood. This law gives young people time to pause on taking an action that could lead to permanent mutilation of their bodies and sterilization as well as long-term adverse psychological consequences."

Allowed under the law are medications or procedures for youth diagnosed with precocious or delayed puberty, those born with ambiguous or incomplete genitalia or who have both male and female anatomical features, or those who have a biochemically verifiable chromosomal disorder of sex development, as well as other exceptions.

UPDATE -- added October 13th

Sen. Daniels applauds federal court for upholding ban on gender transition procedures for minors

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 10th) – A bill to prohibit gender transition procedures on minor children is now in effect in Oklahoma thanks to the decision of the federal district court in Tulsa. The judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction saying that the plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail on the merits of their constitutional arguments that the bill violates the 14th amendment. 

SB 613 authored by Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, easily passed the legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Stitt in May. The law prohibits providing gender transition procedures to any child under the age of 18. These include medications designed to delay or suppress puberty and surgical procedures that alter or remove physical or anatomical characteristics or features that are typical for the individual’s biological sex.

“The purpose of SB 613 is to protect children from making these life-changing, irreversible medical decisions until they reach some level of maturity. The court recognized the state has an interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors from these protocols, which are not settled science,” Daniels said. “The mental health challenges of gender dysphoria are very real. These young people and their families deserve our support.” 

The bill specifically allows for mental and behavioral health treatment of this condition.

The decision to deny the injunction follows similar decisions in federal courts in Tennessee and Alabama.  The laws of these states have also been upheld by the Sixth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal.

“I am gratified this court acknowledged the nationwide discussion and debate on these issues should be decided in state houses by elected legislatures and not by judges in a courtroom. I am hopeful that the Tenth Circuit will concur,” Daniels added.

Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, served as the House principal author of SB 613.

“Senate Bill 613 was drafted, authored and passed with the sole intention of protecting Oklahoma's most vulnerable population: our children,” Hasenbeck said. “Young people may not fully grasp the significance of the choices they're making at the time and may later face distress over the life-altering changes they underwent as a preteen or teenager. The Legislature must continue to help protect kids from rushing into serious decisions that should be made as an adult.”


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