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Oklahoma Senate passes bill banning gender transitions for minors

Physicians would face a felony and a fine of up to $100,000 if they violated ban.

Published: February 15, 2023 4:20pm

Updated: February 16, 2023 6:49am

(The Center Square) -

The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill Wednesday that bans physicians from performing gender transition surgery on minors.

Physicians would face a felony and a fine of up to $100,000, according to the bill, presented on the Senate floor by its primary sponsor, Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville. The physician could also lose their license.

The bill does not prohibit counseling or mental health treatment for gender identity, Daniels said.

Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said the bill diminishes the rights of Oklahoma parents.

"Oklahoma parents love their children, and they have the right to choose the medical treatment they need. Best practice medical care saves lives," Floyd said in a statement. "Senate Bill 613 is government intrusion that subverts the parent/guardian decision-making process. This legislation is anti-parental choice and will cost Oklahoma medical talent and lives. We should have more faith in Oklahoma parents."

Sen. Michael Bergstrom, R-Adair, said the bill is not about hate but compassion.

"We believe the loving thing to do, the compassionate thing to do, is to protect our states' children from making an irreversible mistake," Bergstrom said.

Nick Singer, director of Oklahoma Progress Now, said the bill is a violation of individual rights and an attack on the medical community.

"Right now, legislators are listening to uninformed and bigoted opinions about transgender people," Singer said in a statement. "These laws impact many other Oklahomans and introduce incredible government overreach into the healthcare system. Legislators who lack any medical or psychological training are passing laws telling families and transgender adults what medical care they can and cannot receive."

The bill passed 40-8 along party lines. It now goes to the House of Representatives for its approval. The bill would take effect immediately if signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a similar bill into law on Monday. Physicians could be stripped of their medical license for performing gender transition surgery on a minor. That bill takes effect on July 1.

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