OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma on Monday became the latest state to ban gender-affirming medical care for minors as Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signs a bill that makes it a felony for health care workers to provide children with treatments that can include puberty-blocking drugs and hormones.
Oklahoma joined at least 15 other states with laws banning such care, as conservatives across the country have targeted transgender rights.
Stitt, who was re-elected in November, made the ban a priority of this year’s legislative session, saying he wanted to protect children. Transgender advocates and parents of transgender children say such care is essential.
Stitt signed bills last year that prohibit transgender girls and women from playing on female sports teams and prevent transgender children from using school bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
The bill Stitt signed on Monday would make it illegal to provide gender-transition medical care to anyone under the age of 18. Such treatment can include surgery as well as hormones and drugs that suppress or delay normal puberty.
Transgender advocates and parents of transgender children say such care is essential.
Several civil liberty organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, have promised to “take any necessary legal action” to prevent the law from taking effect.
“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,” Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the ACLU said in a joint statement.
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