At least 16 states have restricted or banned gender surgery for minors including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has banned all sex reassignment procedures for minors in the state, including irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies, joining at least 15 other states with similar laws.
The Republican governor signed SB 613 into law Monday, making it a felony for healthcare workers to provide children under the age of 18 gender surgery, puberty-blocking drugs or hormone doses that suppress or delay normal puberty. It also bans the use of any medications or surgical procedures for the purpose of gender transition.
Violators can have their medical licenses revoked or face civil actions from a parent or guardian.
“Last year, I called for a statewide ban on all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors so I am thrilled to sign this into law today and protect our kids,” Stitt said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to what’s happening across our nation, and as governor, I am proud to stand up for what’s right and ban life-altering transition surgeries on children in the state of Oklahoma.”
The law comes amid a wide wave of states across the country tackling the legality of sex reassignment procedures.
Republican-led states have pushed for restricting or outlawing such procedures, as they have argued children under 18 — who are not legally able to get a tattoo, smoke, or drink — are not old enough to think through the consequences of potentially life-altering decisions.
Democratic-led states have argued the decision to reassign a child’s sex should be left to the child with or without their parent or guardians’ support.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and other civil liberty organizations have promised to “take any necessary legal action” to prevent the Oklahoma law from being enacted.
At least 16 states have now enacted laws restricting or banning gender surgery for minors including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia.
Ongoing litigation has blocked the enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas.
Nearly two dozen states are considering or debating bills this year to restrict or ban sex reassignment procedures.
Additionally, Florida, Missouri and Texas have banned or restricted medical procedures to change a person’s sex via regulations or administrative orders.
A judge partially blocked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order as it required child welfare officials to investigate reports of children undergoing sex reassignment as child abuse. These investigations were blocked. Missouri is the only state that has limited such procedures for both children and adults. A federal judge has blocked these restrictions.