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Oklahoma Children's Hospital Ends Gender Change Services for Minors After Governor Signs Law to Withhold Funding

The governor also called for the Legislature to ban all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors.

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital has stopped providing gender change services to minors after Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill that would withhold federal American Rescue Plan Act funds from University of Oklahoma hospitals if it continued.

The bill was signed by Gov. Stitt on Tuesday after being passed by state lawmakers last week. It went into effect immediately upon being signed.

The law authorizes more than $108 million in federal funds to go to health services at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, but stipulates that the health system can only receive the funds if they stop providing hormone-related and surgical transgender procedures on children.

“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,” said Governor Stitt in a statement.

The Children’s Hospital previously offered “gender-affirming hormone therapy” and advertised help to “find surgeons who perform gender-affirming surgeries,” according to their website.

The website now states, “In light of the legislation signed by Governor Stitt, we have ceased hormone-related prescription therapies and surgical procedures for gender-affirming services on patients under the age of 18. OU Health provides care in accordance with all state and federal laws and in compliance with regulatory governing bodies.”

While Gov. Stitt said that the change is “good news,” he added that it does not go far enough and called for action next legislative session to ban permanent gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors statewide.

“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,” Gov. Stitt said in the statement. “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.”

The bill provides nearly $40 million in ARPA funding to “increase and expand capacity of behavioral health care for children, as well as $20 million for cancer patients who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, $44 million for electronic health record systems, and over $5 million for mobile dental units.”

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