State Sen. David Bullard, R-Okla., will revise his proposal banning transgender surgeries in Oklahoma from the minimum age of 26 to 18, following protests at the state Capitol building earlier this week.
"Yeah, so we are lowering the age. It is now going to actually be in Senate Bill 613; and we are lowering the age to 18," the Washington Examiner reported Bullard saying Wednesday, while adding the legislation would be heard by lawmakers during the day.
Bullard's modified bill would now prohibit transgender surgeries being performed on people under age 18.
According to the Examiner report, transgender activists descended on Oklahoma's state Capitol building Monday and protested the proposed law, in part, because it banned gender-affirming surgical procedures for many young adults.
The initial legislation — proposed and filed last month before the legislature's February session — would have prohibited physicians from performing the surgeries, or recommending drugs involved in gender-affirming care, such as puberty blockers and hormones, unless they were 26 or older.
The report also said that violations would result in a felony conviction and could lead to the participating doctor losing their license in the state.
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt called on the lawmakers to pass one of 15 proposed bills to restrict the drugs and surgeries during his State of the State address on Monday.
"We must protect our most vulnerable — our children," Stitt said during the speech. "After all, minors can't vote, can't purchase alcohol, can't purchase cigarettes. … We shouldn't allow a minor to get a permanent gender-altering surgery in Oklahoma."
In a joint statement from Feb. 2, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal promised "swift" legal action — should the state sign any of the bills into law.
"All Oklahomans deserve the support and care necessary for the opportunity to thrive, including our transgender community. Gender-affirming care is a critical part of helping transgender youth and adults succeed in life by establishing healthy relationships with their friends and family and by living authentically as themselves," ACLU Oklahoma Legal Director Megan Lambert said in a press release announcing the organizations' opposition to the proposed bills.
Lambert continued: "For many people, gender-affirming care is also necessary for basic survival. Medical and mental health treatment for transgender individuals is guided by evidence-based clinical guidelines and built on the individual needs of each patient. Blanket bans on treatment disrupt medically necessary care and result in negative health outcomes including anxiety, depression, and suicidality.
"The ACLU of Oklahoma and our partners are determined to fight these baseless laws until they are struck down. Make no mistake, this is a promise of legal action should any of these bills be signed into law," added Lambert.
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