OU medical students protest bill that would end some gender-affirming health care

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Supporters fought against a hospital bill that will give hospitals millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The bill passed the Senate on Thursday and would give hospitals owned by the Teaching Hospitals Authority or the University Hospital Trust $108.5 million, but they would have to agree to stop providing affirmation care gender to minors.

The hospital at the center of the controversy is OU Health and its Roy G. Biv program which provides this care to children as they learn their gender identity.

The bill stated that any hospital providing gender-affirming care would not receive $39.4 million. The OU announced on Wednesday that it had halted care before lawmakers voted.

“I think they used gender-affirming care as a scary issue,” said a medical student who asked to remain anonymous.

Oklahoma senators said people watching the debate on the floor got stuck between young patients, their parents and doctors who provide safe and accepted gender-affirming care.

“These ARPA funds will have no stake with the major point of our conversation today,” said Sen. Roger Thompson.

“The age of consent is important,” said Senator Greg Treat. “When a person has the mental capacity, the ability to make decisions is important.”

Oklahoma’s age of consent is 16.

House Bill 1007, authored by Senator Thompson, initially targeted gender-affirming care only. Now the bill has been added to the spring bill, Senate Bill 3, and adds $69 million in additional funding.

That breaks down to $44 million for electronic medical record updates, $20 million for treatments for pandemic-affected cancer patients, and just over $5.1 million for mobile dental units.

Hospitals will also have to agree to hand over reports and even be audited to make sure the money is not going to something that is not authorized.

Related: Bill to expand behavioral health care at OU Children’s could also restrict ‘lifesaving care’

“They keep talking about transitional surgery on kids. It literally doesn’t happen. It’s a red herring,” attorney Sarah Bell-Wilson said.

“It’s not medically available anywhere in the United States for under 16s, so they’re discussing 16-18 year olds, saying they’re not old enough to know who they are,” the attorney said. Shay Wilson. “Even though they’ve already made the social transition for a decade by then.”

“They say we provide irreversible procedures and treatments and act like we’re opening 12-year-olds,” the unidentified medical student said. “We don’t do that. We provide puberty blockers that pause puberty to grow and (sic) make decisions at its own pace.

Proponents of the bill have said they believe none of this care should take place until a person is 18; but others think it would be too late.

“If that option is taken away, many of them will be at a much higher risk of thinking about or attempting suicide. They are children. They shouldn’t spend their lives wondering if they want to live it,” said the medical student. .

Senate Bill 3 passed the Senate on Thursday morning. It also contains an emergency clause, which means it could become law when the governor signs it.

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