The Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill appropriating $39.4 million to its University Hospitals Authority for mental health care for children, prohibiting the use of that money for so-called “gender reassignment medical treatment” for minors.
The appropriation specifically bans the use of the funds for:
- Interventions to suppress the development of endogenous secondary sex characteristics [i.e., puberty blockers that stop normal adolescent development].
- Interventions to align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity [such as hysterectomies, mastectomies and penectomies which remove perfectly healthy, functioning tissues].
- Medical therapies and medical intervention used to treat gender dysphoria [such as surgeries, opposite-sex hormones and natural hormone suppressants].
Senate Bill 3XX passed the Senate by a vote of 33 to 13. The House approved the appropriation 68 to 23. The money, designated to expand capacity of behavioral health care for children, came from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, providing $1.9 trillion in federal COVID-19 funds.
In addition, the bill appropriates $65 million for treatment for cancer patients, electronic health record systems and mobile dental units.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed SB3XX on Tuesday, October 4, and it went into effect immediately. In a press release, he 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.
The ACLU of Oklahoma railed against the move, saying:
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. …
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.
Many researchers, parents, doctors and former transgender-identified individuals strongly disagree with that statement.
The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) opposes experimental, irreversible, body-disfiguring medical interventions to treat children with sexual identity confusion.
The organization explains the philosophical and spiritual differences between those who advocate for “transgender” medical treatments:
If the human body is nothing more than the product of mindless, random, purposeless physical forces, then one may do with it what one wishes, even to demand medical and surgical cooperation in projects to alter, amputate, or reconstruct normal tissue to conform to the patient’s revised psychological sense of identity.
If, on the other hand, our bodies are an inseparable aspect of our true selves and are a good gift from God, who has designed the sexes to be wonderfully paired, and who has a purpose for humanity, then respecting the gift of given sexual identity and the ensuing moral obligations to our neighbors is the surest path to human flourishing.
That’s the crux of the issue: Our bodies matter. God created humanity male and female, in His image, and individuals are male or female. To distort this is to distort the image of God in man.
The CMDA then goes on to explain the damage caused by puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones and surgeries:
Hormones prescribed to a previously biologically healthy child for the purpose of blocking puberty inhibit normal growth and fertility, cause sexual dysfunction, and may aggravate mental health issues.
Continuation of cross-sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, during adolescence and into adulthood, is associated with increased health risks including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, heart attack, infertility, and some types of cancer.
They also demonstrate that, contrary to the misinformation peddled by the ACLU of Oklahoma, drugs, hormones and surgeries don’t help those with sexual identity confusion:
Among individuals who identify as transgender, use cross-sex hormones, and undergo attempted gender reassignment surgery, there are well-documented increased incidences of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviors in comparison to the general population.
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) agrees that transgender interventions harm children and that children are unable to give mature consent to these experimental, damaging procedures:
There is not a single long-term study to demonstrate the safety or efficacy of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for transgender-believing youth. This means that youth transition is experimental, and therefore, parents cannot provide informed consent, nor can minors provide assent for these interventions. Moreover, the best long-term evidence we have among adults shows that medical intervention fails to reduce suicide.
The organization adds that puberty blockers and opposite-sex hormones may cause mental health issues, including depression and suicidality, and they are linked to serious physical harms.
With regard to surgeries, the group says:
Add to this the fact that physically healthy transgender-believing girls are being given double mastectomies at 13 and hysterectomies at 16, while their male counterparts are referred for surgical castration and penectomies at 16 and 17, respectively, and it becomes clear that affirming transition in children is about mutilating and sterilizing emotionally troubled youth.
ACPeds concludes that the so-called “best practices” cited by the ACLU don’t work and harm children:
A review of the current literature suggests that this protocol is founded upon an unscientific gender ideology, lacks an evidence base, and violates the long-standing ethical principle of “First do no harm.”
Kudos to Oklahoma for working to protect children. Children who hate their physical sex need help and healing to embrace their God-given biology.
The state government is expected to go even further next year, considering legislation to ban all hormones, drugs and surgeries for children with sexual identity confusion.
Photo from Shutterstock.