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Oklahoma lawmakers advance bill that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors

Oklahoma State Capitol
Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Conservative Oklahoma lawmakers are working to crack down on gender-affirming health care. One of the several bills to do so passed off the House floor Tuesday.

House Bill 2177 is broad in scope, but supporters tout two major provisions: one that requires Oklahomans to wait until they’re at least 18 to receive care, and another thatblocks all public funding from gender-affirming services.

Rep. Kevin West presented the bill Tuesday. He argues it is not discriminatory.

"This has nothing to do with anything to do against the transgender community. This has everything to do with protecting children and protecting state funds," said West.

Another major provision would ban private insurance companies from covering the care — for anyone.

"We are saying that if you cannot afford — it doesn't matter if you're 18 or younger — if you cannot afford health care, then you do not have the opportunity to stay in Oklahoma and live your life," said Rep. Mauree Turner, the state’s only openly nonbinary member.

The bill passed 80-18 and is headed to the Senate.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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